Fortune Has Arrived January 26, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Holidays, Personal, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Breast Cancer, Chinese New Year, Fortune Arrives, Hard Times, Hope, Mastectomy, Positive Thinking, Teaching, Third Grade, Year of the Ox
The mother of one of my students, who’s Chinese, came in Friday to talk to students about Chinese New Year. I love the color red so I was already sold on the holiday. Several years ago I didn’t have time to send out Christmas cards but saved face by sending Chinese New Year’s cards instead. She read stories and brought beautiful Chinese dolls and a gorgeous woman warrior puppet wielding a sword, “A woman can be a warrior,” I informed the skeptical boys (brandishing my own verbal sword).
She explained how it was important to clean everything to prepare for the luck and good fortune that a new year brings. (It’s the Year of the Ox, in case you didn’t know.) All of my “Dragons” cleaned the entire classroom along with two students who were born in the Year of the Rabbit. Because they were born at the end of the year, we learned they are officially “Rabbit Tails.”
I was also given the character fu above which means good fortune in a general sense – wealthy, happiness, success (a green card?). The character is to be hung upside down. (Like I would know the difference!) When turned upside down, the character creates an auspicious phrase (Chinese for pun) Fu dao le that rhymes with the character for “arrives” or “comes.” So you’re expressing your wish that fortune be directed to wherever the upside down character is found. That’s why you’ll find the upside down character throughout the year and why not? Everyone needs good fortune heading their way. When good fortune comes, you turn the character right side up to signal its arrival.
I love symbols or maybe it’s the ritual, as so much of modern life has been stripped of ritual (other than the ritualistic stop at Starbucks). It seems to me that just about everyone I know could use some good fortune, including our new president, Barack Obama. Boy, does he have a big mess to clean up, and I think he’s going to need some help from the likes of you and me. Just to be on the safe side, Obama needs to hang up a really big upside down fu above the steps to our nation’s Capitol.
There are lots of people I know and love who could use some good luck. They cling to Hope while they await its arrival. I’m thinking tonight of my sister-in-law Jane (“Janer”). At 47, she’s already survived two marriages, one to a narcissist. She has nine children (eight still at home) and learned just last month that she has breast cancer. Tomorrow she’s having a double mastectomy. I know she’s scared, but chooses to focus on the positive (“I’m getting a tummy tuck and they’re going to use all that extra skin for reconstructive surgery.”) Know this. A woman can be a warrior.