We have been making a tour around Hong Kong of all the shopping malls and outdoor spaces that decorate for Christmas. Having no decorations in our flat this year as we are winging it home to Oregon for Christmas celebrations, it is a nice way to get in the spirit and experience a little bit of Hong Kong Christmas.
On Sunday, we ventured to the IFC mall to see it snow. Yes, twice a day and four times on weekends, shoppers are treated to a snowfall in a wooded forest of knitted trees with a gigantic pair of reindeer lifting off into flight from a snowy hill. It is my favorite of all the displays in Hong Kong. Very peaceful with warm lights and soothing instrumental music playing softly. An occasional chorale group performs holiday favorites too. It captures a feeling of reverence even in the middle of a shopping mall.
But Sunday it was bittersweet because, everywhere there were families enjoying the day and the snowfall and doing what families do this time of year in every country that celebrates Christmas. Meanwhile, families in Connecticut mourn unthinkable losses. I couldn’t get the feeling of sadness out of me, and I wept. They should be out on this last full weekend before Christmas; shopping, seeing holiday lights, practicing for winter pageants, caroling, making cookies, being together and wishing for a white Christmas.
In the Chinese culture the idea of “luck” permeates everything. It pops in to all kinds of conversations. Day-to-day activities can be guided by how lucky of a day it is for an individual or for the general cosmic make up of the day. I purchased a date book for 2013 that actually gives a daily forecast, or maybe a general prescription for the day in terms of luck. I imagine the the 2012 version for Friday, December 14 was not a lucky day especially for that elementary school in Newtown, CN. It occurs to me, that there was not one thing that those families or school administrators could have done to change what happened. It was going to be what it was, and whatever caused this young adult man to commit this act happened long ago. Maybe it was a bad experience. Maybe no luck with diagnosing mental illness. Maybe help was out of the hands of the parents once the child turns 18 and families have no ability to detour or manage an adult child. There was no luck that day.
I think we can change the future luck and have fewer of these kind of senseless acts. I hope that the people of America find the courage to say that enough is enough. We all need to work to stop these tragedies. Change the luck early on. We need to try to do a better job of assisting families that have challenging individuals deal with mental illness and other difficult living situations. We need to be kind everyday and stop bullying the young and the old. And, we need to figure out how we are going to live safely with guns, because America’s attachment to guns is not going to go away.
As we visit more holiday scenes around Hong Kong, I am thinking of the suffering families and the town in Connecticut. Although this holiday is changed forever for them, I wish and hope that they can find some comfort and peace in the beauty of this season.