After participating in two recent disaster relief missions, I found myself not able to fully remember everyone’s story. This worried me.
One day on the way home after working at one of the relief centers, I tried recalling fragments of all the stories from that day. I was able to remember their sincere and focused eyes, the tears that fell from their eyes and dripped down their faces, and the warm hugs they gave me before they left the center. I remember feeling their pain. I remember being empathetic to the survivors.
One couple was sitting on some chairs, watching the Tzu Chi films while waiting to receive their cash card. When they finally sat down in front of a volunteer to be assisted, the husband’s tears couldn’t stop. The wife sat by his side and wiped his tears to comfort him throughout the process.
When they received their cash cards, they both couldn’t help but cry again. When I read Master Cheng Yen’s letter, they lowered their head, closed their eyes, and listened with a sincere heart.
That scene was so touching!
There were so many unforgettable moments such as this.
A retired high school counselor who looked younger than 60 also came over to talk to me that day. He explained to me that his wife had passed away a few years ago. Now he is all by himself. He had wanted to visit his brother in Texas, but was unsure of how to plan for his next step forward.
When I read Master Cheng Yen’s words, he couldn’t keep his tears from falling as he exclaimed, “I lost my home!” Soon after expressing his remorse, he was able to calm down very quickly.
Another story I couldn’t forget was about a 60-year-old lady. I had asked her, “How are you today?” She replied, “Yesterday was bad, but today is better.” I asked again, “Why was yesterday bad?” She said it was her mother’s birthday, but that her mother had died a few years ago. She cried as she spoke.
While these survivors lost their homes filled with love and memories, their pain and their stories will not be forgotten.