By Wang Hua, the United States
“Please mop the floor after you wash your clothes!”
“Please pick up your fallen hairs and put them in the waste basket in the future; don’t throw them about like this.”
“I’m really wondering who didn’t clean up the floor after combing the hair, and who didn’t mop up the water on the washbowl table after washing the face, always making the bathroom dirty.”
Since last March, I began to share a house with several colleagues and troubles came one after another. After we lived together for some time, I found: They often used too much water for washing themselves; they didn’t fold their quilts soon after they got up; they left their clothes everywhere, making the room messy…. What was most unbearable for me was that: Every time after they used the bathroom, there was water around the washbowl and all over the floor, and sometimes hairs everywhere—from the washbowl table to the floor, and around the waste basket.
In the beginning, I buried in my heart my prejudice against them. But as time passed by, I couldn’t contain it any longer. I thought: I didn’t remind you and you didn’t consciously clean up the bathroom. So if I remind you, you should behave better. Then I began to nag before them: “I’m really wondering who didn’t clean up the floor after combing the hair, and who didn’t mop up the water on the washbowl table after washing the face, always making the bathroom dirty.” But they acted as if they hadn’t heard me. Seeing their reaction, I felt bad and angry. I thought to myself: When I kept silent, I couldn’t bear to see it. Now I have reminded you, yet it doesn’t work. If I constantly remind you, you must get sick of me.
I had thought about this question for some time: What could I do to resolve this problem? One day, I got an idea: “If I put up a post-it note in the bathroom to remind them, isn’t this enough?” So, I wrote a note, saying: “Please keep the bathroom clean!! Clean up your fallen hairs and mop up the water on the washbowl table.” Then I stuck it onto the wall in front of the toilet. I thought: Now you should behave yourselves. And the bathroom will be kept clean from now on.
However, things did not go on as I imagined. One time, my colleague Xiaoqing forgot to mop the floor after she washed her clothes. When I saw it, I really couldn’t bear it so I angrily said to her: “In the future, please mop the floor after you wash your clothes.” Another time, after a roommate combed her hair, I found there were many fallen hairs around the waste basket. Impatiently I said to her: “From now on, after you have combed your hair, put your fallen hairs into the waste basket. Don’t throw them out of it.” But she said it wasn’t she who had left them on the floor. Hearing that, I shouted, “I can recognize your curly hair!” Then she didn’t say anything more.
Just because of these trivialities in our life, the relationship between me and my colleagues became rather estranged. Some roommates were not willing to speak with me, nor did I know what to say to them when we met; it was very embarrassing. Sometimes I thought maybe I should turn a blind eye to these things, but I couldn’t. In great pain, I came before God and prayed: “God, You see right through me. You know my thoughts and my corruption. I always want others to act according to my will. When they don’t listen to me, I feel very painful and I dislike them. God, in such an environment, what lessons do You want me to learn and which aspects of truth should I gain? May You enlighten me and lead me to understand. Amen!”
One day, I read some of God’s that said: “You say, ‘I love cleanliness; I don’t like there to be any odors, I don’t like people who are filthy, and I don’t like looking at disgusting things.’ However, those people living with you snore and talk during sleep, smack their lips when having their meals, and have other bad living habits. What happens to you is exactly what you dislike. In this case, what do you do? Is it right for you to hate people? You lovingly, patiently help these people change their bad habits; is this right? Is this purpose or intention of yours correct? (No.) … People live for so many years, and are unhappy with eighty or ninety percent of what they encounter. You frown upon this and disapprove of that, but what do you dislike? Some of these things are actually your own problems, so you should not make a big deal out of them. When people get older, they realize that they are not noble, and that they are no better than others. Do not think that you are superior to other people, or more dignified and distinguished than they are; you must learn to adapt to your environment.” “What does it mean to not mind your own business? ‘I will change that bad habit of theirs, or I will have my surname changed!’ What kind of person are you if this is the way you conduct yourself? Insolent, aggressive, and ignorant. Do not be such a person.”was just describing me! Because focusing too much on cleaning the room had been my living habit, wherever I went, if it wasn’t clean I wouldn’t feel comfortable; once I found my home became dirty, I would feel excessively uncomfortable and would clean it up at once. So in my eyes, keeping the room clean was a very easy thing. Thus, when the colleagues I lived with didn’t pay attention to cleaning the house but made the house messy and still didn’t act according to what I had told them, I became very unhappy, and my heart was full of complaints and dislike. Sometimes I just dealt with it depending on my hot blood: I spoke every word in a lecturing tone in order to rebuke them, which put constraints on them and thus made us become estranged from each other. Now I understood that all my suffering was caused due to my corrupt satanic disposition. I always wanted to change my roommates’ living habits, and asked them to do things according to my way of living; how ignorant and arrogant I was.
Then I read more of God’s words: “To adapt to your environment, you must first realize something: There are all kinds of people out there, with all sorts of living habits. Living habits do not represent a person’s humanity. Just because your living habits are disciplined, normal, and dignified does not mean you possess the truth. You need to get this fact through your head, and gain a positive appreciation for it. Furthermore, God has arranged such a fantastic environment for you. You have too many personal issues; you must learn to adapt, and not pick at the bad habits of others. Moreover, you have to be able to get along with them based on love, and get close to them; you need to see their strengths, learn from their strengths, and then pray to God and overcome your own problems. This is the attitude and practice of submission. … We are ordinary people, each with two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. People use their mouths to eat, so you, too, must eat with your mouth. If you try to use your nose to eat, it will get irritated. People use their legs to walk, so you, too, must walk with your legs; you cannot possibly fly. People work with their hands, so you, too, must work with your hands; you cannot do it with your feet. There is nothing special about you; you do not have any supernatural powers, and you are not superior to others in any way. We are common people; we are ordinary people. Do not think of yourself as being so noble or great.” God’s words pointed out the way for me to practice and made me finally understand that I always fixed my gaze on others’ bad habits just because I thought of myself as a noble person. Actually every one of us had their own living habits and some small faults, which asked for mutual adaptability. I should see more of their strengths, learn to be tolerant and patient, treat them with a loving heart, and allow them to live according to their own way of life. As to keeping the house tidy, I could do it myself; I should not force others to change, much less should I despise them. When I calmed my heart down to think, I found that just because my living habits were good didn’t really mean I was superior to others. Actually I myself also had many faults. For example: I treated others with no tolerance; I was always procrastinative when doing things; I was slow in learning new things; and I had a poor memory. Rather, each of my roommates had their own strengths. For example: One roommate was good with computers while I was a newbie. But when I wanted to learn about the computers, she taught me over and over again, with great patience. Another roommate, an elder, is experienced in cooking. Seeing we were not good at cooking, every time when we were all at home, she cooked for us on her own initiative. She made me feel that she treated us as her family, conferring no distinction upon us. … Thinking of their strengths, I no longer fixated my eyes on their faults, but instead, I understood that each of us had strengths and shortcomings; I should not look down upon them. From this, I also understood God’s intention: Today we have a chance to live together—this is God’s arrangement for me. His intention is to allow me to enter into the truth, learn to adapt to the environment, and live out normal humanity. Having understood God’s intention, I resolved to practice according to God’s word in the future. So, I prayed to God and asked Him to give me strength and lead me to overcome my corrupt disposition.
One early morning when I came to the living room, I saw there were many spots on the floor. Obviously someone must have spilled water on the floor the night before. Seeing a roommate coming, I wanted to ask her who had been so careless. Just at that moment, I remembered God’s words, as well as the resolution of my willingness to cast off my corruption, and thus I stopped to pray to God quietly, “O God, it is out of Your permission that I encounter this thing today. I’m willing to submit, no longer tie myself in knots over rights or wrongs, or rely on my satanic disposition in what I do. May You protect my heart.” Then, I moped the spots by myself. After practicing in this way, I felt extremely steadfast and peaceful in my spirit.
In the days that followed, once I found somewhere wasn’t tidy, I would clean it up voluntarily. Though I felt a little unpleasant after doing this for long, I no longer forcibly asked my roommates to do things in accordance with my likes; but instead I would remind them when appropriate. After a period of time, I found they had already begun to pay attention to cleaning the house, which allowed me to better understand. When I was willing to put the truth into practice and put aside my request of my colleagues, they changed gradually.
Thinking back over every scene of when I got along with my roommates, I was filled with emotion: Now, I can live in harmony with my roommates; this is all because of the guidance of God’s words. Glory be to God!
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