Mr. Pei’s America the Beautiful
This morning I was feeling a bit angry. This anger was brewing over a lot of things that are way out of my control – the economy, the election, racism, the list goes on.
My anger was fueled by a full-on verbal assault to everyone on our bus for a solid half hour yesterday afternoon. A 42-year-old woman, who was clearly NOT insane, screamed about her “tolerance” and finally admitted to her girlfriend, who professed not share her views, that, yes, she was a racist. She did not stop her preaching until someone finally confronted her before stepping off the bus. The next stop, the couple was off and on their way. Fortunately my parents taught me not to tolerate racist behavior. Although, I didn’t have the guts to say anything. I am not sure what this rant was all about, maybe her own feeling of the world out of control, but it didn’t sit too well with me.
So this morning, all I could do was admit that I was angry. We have a range of emotions and we shouldn’t suppress them. Right? I spent part of the morning thinking about writing a commentary about all of the people who have to tolerate that this woman never learned to use her inside voice. Or even heard of the concept. Yes, racism is a weighty issue, but this is certainly not a way to set forth any productive resolution. Use your anger wisely.
Finally I decided that I needed to return to Tai Chi. I have not been in two weeks, since the Autumn Moon Celebration, during which I got to sit next to Mr. Pei as he watched the Chinese version of the Beijing Olympics. He was very happy and kept telling me that there were 2008 people on stage. Last week, I was so busy with my altar projects and I don’t know what all else that I skipped Tai Chi all together. At some point this weekend, I got on the scale and realized that I had gained three pounds since my doctor’s visit in June. And I could just feel this anger and anxiety really growing. I needed to return to Tai Chi and fast. This exercise calms me down and allows me to take control of the ONE thing I can, myself.
Today was a special treat. Although I had a hard time falling in line with the steps from being delinquent and wound up, I enjoyed all of Mr. Pei’s favorite sayings. He reminded us that he was 87 and we were all going to live to be 100. Then he referenced “Trees,” his favorite poem. And we got to hear a little of both “America the Beautiful” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” It was comforting to hear him remind us that we can have “heaven and human in one – God with us” by doing Tai Chi. Don’t we all want to be a little closer to God? Especially when everything seems so out of control?
As I left, Peter handed me this photocopy of America the Beautiful, which Mr. Pei wrote out with his own hand. He has both the Chinese and English translations, plus some kind of number system. I guess this is for music? I have no idea. I love Mr. Pei’s handwriting. The A is beautiful. Plus, my absolute favorite detail – a small recycled Christmas tag in the lower right hand of the page. The tag is inscribed:
To: Brothers, Sisters, Friends
From: Chiching Pei
Now I know your name, Mr. Pei! Thank you for this wonderful gift.