How did you celebrate Christmas in the past two days? I visited volunteers of the Direction Association for the Handicapped on Christmas Eve last Thursday. Despite their physical disabilities, they embrace the flow of life with perseverance and engage in community affairs actively, supporting self-reliance and encouraging others with their life experiences. I was deeply touched and inspired by their stories.
They shared their stories with me during the visit. Many of them became physically handicapped in accidents; some were seriously paralysed and had to rely on ventilators in hospitals to sustain life. We might understand but could never truly feel the changes and difficulties brought by such severe setbacks. Nonetheless, these brave life-fighters did not give up. They strived to adapt to their new physical condition and improve their mobility through training. They also learnt to use assistive devices to help perform more complicated tasks like using computer, typing and painting.
Their enthusiastic participation in voluntary work also touched me. They visited patients in hospitals who have gone through similar difficulties and shared experiences to encourage them to be proactive and brave. Their positive energy has spread like ripples. Some patients were motivated and later joined the voluntary work to carry on this meaningful mission. The Association is also committed to promoting life education by holding sharing sessions in schools and other organisations. Students were encouraged to stay resilient to adversity. Meanwhile, the volunteers could lead a more fulfilling life through contribution and integration into society.
I believe that everyone of us experiences ups and downs in life. During hard times, we need care and encouragement from others. A survey conducted earlier found that the mental health index of about a quarter of working people in Hong Kong scored below the pass mark, reflecting that they are susceptible to emotional distress. So we need to pay more attention to and care for our families and friends. Sometimes, a few kind words can go a long way to opening one’s heart. We should not retreat from life and be afraid to talk to people in the face of adversity. When you share with others, you may find that there are still many people caring about you. There are always more solutions than problems, and there is no obstacle so great that cannot be surmounted.
Christmas is about love and gratitude, as Charles Dickens, a renowned British author, wrote in “A Christmas Carol” more than a hundred year ago. The festival reminds us to care for people around us and face challenges in life positively. I wish you all good health, happiness and full of blessings in the coming year.
27 December, 2015