This morning, I awoke to a message from a man who says he hails from an inland village in the Chinese Hunan province. He lives and works in Canton, a coastal city in southern China. I get messages from all over the world, and I read every single one of them. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to tell what's real and what's spam. Since the English in this email was quite broken, I was skeptical. I wrote him back to ask him a few questions and he responded quickly, assuring me that his message was sincere. He even sent me a picture of himself.
Just look at his beautiful smile! In light of his two messages and the photo, the circumstances point to him being a real person in a difficult situation in a foreign country where he does not have the freedoms that we enjoy and sometimes take for granted here in America. His words made me pause today to take stock of the many blessings we have, chief among them, the ability, as our new friend from China says, "to arrange your life freely."
Here are the words from his messages, edited a bit to correct grammar.
I can't help but write to you after reading your words on your blog so far. I am a Chinese young man who is working in a foreign funded company, which makes me feel very constrained and bored because I find that I nearly lost my freedom and I work from day to night, very tired, however, I cannot get equal pay. I envy that you can arrange your life freely, and am inspired by your Indie action and words. Thanks for your encouragement and advice. I will be your fan forever.
Second email, after my reply asking if he was serious:
Rest assured the email was not spam or virus. It is only what I am eager to express after reading your blog. I am deeply inspired by your Indie lifestyle, which many Chinese young men such as me dream about always. [He told me his name here.]
I am 24 years old this year. I am a sales and order supervisor employee. I work a long time every day, get up early and go home late according to the schedule of my company. However, the salary is not equal to the work hour and work strength. It's only about $235US each month.
Furthermore, I feel very constrained because I can't arrange my freedom. Sometime, I would like to have a small business but I don't have enough start-up funds so I gave up finally.
After reading your blog, I was deeply motivated and encouraged by your lifestyle and attitude toward life. Hence, I won't surrender to the reality. Business prosper!!
I am moved
Consider his words.
Arrange your life freely.
What a blessing! Having been born and raised in America, it's hard for me to imagine a culture where my passions and desires are disrespected and extinguished. But there are people all over the world who live in conditions that are imposed solely for the purpose of controlling and devaluing them.
Our new Chinese friend probably works too many hours to be able to spend much time online, but I told him that, if he was for real, people who read this blog would post comments in solidarity with him. That we would pray for him and send him good thoughts that one day, a way would be made for him to pursue his dreams of business ownership and have the precious ability to arrange his life freely as he sees that we are able to do in America.
Will you send a comment of encouragement to our new friend? Please post your own personal hopes and prayers for him and people the world over who are striving to one day have the option to arrange their lives freely.