Went to a family gathering this evening. Didn't want to go but am extremely glad that I went.
I very briefly mentioned my uncle here.
When was the last time I met my cousin? Must be some 20 years ago, probably during my uncle's funeral. As my uncle had determined not to work, my father took care of his two kids. After graduating from college and becoming a physiotherapist, my elder cousin moved to Australia. Since then I haven't talked to or met him. I was always mad with him. My father paid his college fee, brought him clothes and offered him things we didn't get, and he just vanished. Not a note of thanks, a phone call, or an email for nearly 20 years.
A few days ago my father received a phone call from my cousin. He was coming to Hong Kong with his wife and kids. My father was overwhelmed with joy. He called me and my brothers and sister three times a day to ensure that we would attend the family dinner today. It sounded like the greatest news to him in many year. Not wanting to spoil my father's mood, I went to the dinner, reluctantly.
Surprise. Surprise. I enjoyed the gathering, very much, a lot. I actually felt happy to meet my cousin, his wife and children. Wasn't I supposed to be filled with hatred, disrespect and a feeling of annoyance? Honestly I wasn't. Not a bit. My cousin is now living a good life and has a lovely wife and two wonderful children (one is, like his father, a physiotherapist and the other is a medical doctor to be). Not in a million years can I imagine that it can be so satisfying and joyous to see someone who are somewhat blood-related to me becoming polite, well-mannered and wonderful young man and woman. Filled with joy, I thanked my cousin for breaking the ice and coming here to visit us. I meant it. A big thank you indeed.
On my way home, I kept wondering how foolish I was to let myself be blinded by prejudice and close-mindedness. If only I had taken the first step and contacted my cousin, I'd have had all the joy of seeing my niece and nephew grow. I'm glad that it's not too late.
I have been telling my daughter that doing something that you don't want to do may bring you some totally unexpected joy. I am right.