Life is a Journey
I never expected to come to the United Kingdom. I never imagined that I would be an immigrant. I always wanted a life that was comfortable and safe, but along the way I discovered that there’s more to life than just financial success.
My parents moved from Taiwan to the United States sometime in the 1970’s. My dad had graduated from Taiwan as a doctor, but a move to America meant he had to take new exams to qualify as a doctor in the USA. One year after they moved to the States, I was born. My dad and mum travelled around different hospitals as my dad completed his training. I was just a kid at the time, so I didn’t understand the challenges and difficulties for them. It was hard for them to be Chinese in the United States. People weren’t as open to other cultures back then. My parents had to learn to speak English, and deal with people with a different culture. They faced racism, prejudice, and financial struggles. And even though my dad was a doctor, it didn’t mean he had the same respect as those who were born in America. Looking back, I can see now what a challenge and risk it was for them to move to the USA. And they did it hoping they could give a better life to their children.
Eventually, my parents moved to Southern California. My dad opened a medical practice there, which eventually became a thriving medical practice serving the Chinese community that was established in the area. And that’s where I lived until 1996.
Up until then, I had always expected to live in California. Compared to the UK, the weather was better, there were more job opportunities, and there were definitely more wonderful things to eat. After I finished university, I wasn’t sure what the next step in my life should be. When an opportunity came for me to take a one-year internship in the UK, at first I didn’t consider it. I didn’t want to leave all the comforts of the USA for the unknown life in England. I wanted to stay in a place that was easier for me. I’d always lived at home, and I had dreams of a simple, comfortable, secure life for myself.
The thing about life is: we don’t know what the future holds. We can evaluate all the options and the possibilities, but in reality we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Some people believe that fortune tellers or horoscopes can give us the answers. But all of those things are just guessing. There’s no solid truth in it. So often, we want to choose a life that will protect us from hardships in the future. But, in reality, we don’t know when or how life’s difficulties will come.
At that point, I realised that I shouldn’t live trying to protect myself from the unknown. Choosing a “safe” option might just mean that I miss out on life’s adventures. I realised that my parents took an amazing step of faith in leaving Taiwan. It was their adventure. And now it was my turn to discover life’s adventures. Maybe I would just be in the UK for one year, maybe longer, but I needed to discover life’s journey, and make a decision. I was reminded of a verse that my mum used to say to me: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). And so I just prayed a simple prayer: “God, will you lead me? I don’t know what will happen, but I trust in you, and I want to discover life.”
The joy of life is in the journey. It’s in celebrating in the good and persevering through the bad. It’s in facing challenges, and overcoming. It’s in failing, or falling down, and then getting up and trying again. Life is about learning, growing, experiencing, sharing, and discovering. My parents showed me that there’s more than just a pursuit of money in life. There is a richness in adventure and discovery.
I’ve now been in the UK for nearly twenty years. What started out as a one-year internship turned into a twenty-year adventure that’s still continuing. There are times when I miss home, or wonder what life would have been like if I had stayed in the USA; but then I remember all the people I’ve met, the ways I’ve changed and grown, the life and community I’m part of now, and how rich my experiences have been. It makes me realise that life shouldn’t be spent looking regretfully at the past; life should be spent embracing the present and engaging with the future. I have found out for myself that, although fortune tellers and horoscopes might tell you what your future will be like, only God will travel with you in your adventures every day.