Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to lose your cool?

...Bare your testimony.

I turn into a blubbery idiot and I hate myself when that happens.

I am never afraid of public speaking - but put me in front of a group of believers and... make me speak about something profoundly touching...I turn into a fount of indecipherable weeping. It's embarrassing.

I haven't borne my testimony in a long while. I think I was trying to shed my "she always gets up" image. Those of you that knew me in college - please don't tease me. ;-)

Yesterday my husband and I went to the Sacramento temple to join a few other brothers and sisters in doing the first mandarin Chinese baptisms and confirmations for the dead. I don't live in a very diverse area. So, it was neat to do something for my heritage. We were a small group. There were a few of us Chinese women and then mostly return missionaries or spouses. I am so impressed at these return missionaries that are now grandfathers who still remember and still love the Chinese people. It is amazing to me because there are so many that leave their mission and you would never know what people they served among.

I've always felt a bit trapped between my American birth and my Chinese ancestry. So I went to just be in the temple, and do service. Plus, I love being in the temple.

When it was my turn to do baptisms, I stepped in and forgot that they keep the water nice and warm - it enveloped me. Then I was dunked over and over. I had decided to keep my eyes closed the entire time to facilitate the fact that it was useless to wipe between dunkings..and so that I could have my eyes closed during the prayer.

At one point during the prayer, I was listening to the speaker as the water dripped down my head to my face, I realized that some of the water were my own tears. I suddenly felt these women, these tiny Chinese women who finally, after so many years of suffering received relief. It made me feel an immediate kinship with these women.

I may feel mostly white - but I'm making an effort to return to my roots by reading about the history of China, and the women in China. I felt like I was there for my peeps, my sisters. These women who were told and treated like they were of no worth - simply because they were female. These women who always did their filial duty, despite their treatment as lower-class citizens by their own families. These women who never did anything for themselves, but constantly did their duty to their ancestors, in-laws, birth family, husband, children... these women would finally receive their peace. These women who spent a lifetime eating bitterness from their youth...with their bound, broken, painful feet. To these women I bow and pay my respects.

As we were doing baptisms I heard them say this one is the 26th wife of so-and-so. I was hurt that instead of names they were just numbers. Part of my rebellious nature said...forget doing work for the men - let's just save the women! ;-)

I am so grateful for all my ancestors that made it possible for me to be where I am today. I am nothing without them. They have let me stand on their shoulders. I hope I can do the same for my progenitors.

Many of the names read sounded like my maiden name "Huang" the character that means "Yellow". There are other characters that sound I thought I'd peek at the names to see if it was the same character as mine. They were - and that made me even more excited. No matter how fed up I get with people, relationships, etc... it takes the temple to take me out of it and see how unifying things can be.

As I sat there waiting for others to finish I thought about my girls. That in four and a half years my oldest will make sacred covenants and enter the waters of baptism. That soon enough we'll be able to bring them here to do baptisms for the dead too. I so look forward to my little family walking in the temple together.

I was very grateful to be there. I was grateful that my husband, who doesn't understand Chinese...except when I call him crazy in Chinese... did the baptisms and confirmations with me ...because he loves me. As we stepped out of the temple the sun had set. I always feel a little - other-worldly as I leave. For some reason time stops for me when I'm inside. I forget that there's a burden of an imperfect world outside. I can't wait to be back for my Chinese peeps.

It's nice to represent. Yo.


compulsive writer said...

Beautiful post. Thank you. And I know what you mean about losing your cool.

La Yen said...

I love that.

Amy said...

Very cool post. Thanks for sharing.

Queen Scarlett said...

Thanks ladies.