Temple of Heaven

28 08 2005

This will be my last post from Beijing. Tonight we take a train to Xian after spending the day at the Summer Palace of the Emperor. Should be beautiful, but I might spend alot of our time in a nice shaded area getting down on paper some of the many many thoughts and reactions I’ve had since we’ve arrived. I woke up this morning with a sour throat that I’m pretty sure is going to turn into a cold. Suck.
Yesterday we attended the largest Protestant church here in Beijing. It was founded by the Methodist, and has a long history, starting with it being torn down during the Boxer Rebellion, and then later confiscated by the Chinese government during the Cultural Revolution. It was an interesting mix of lots of Westernized worship, but done in Chinese. We had headphones that had a translator so we could (somewhat) understand. At the “greeting” section of the service, a Chinese man turned around and said “peace be with you”, and it was an amazing feeling to realize that in the simple response of “and with you” I was connected to this man who was so very different than me. The difference seemed less.
After that we went to the Temple of Heaven where the Emperor used to come and pray to the gods for a good harvest. The gods consisted of such things as the sun, the moon, planets and stars, and earthly things like weather. It was beautiful, but crowded, and I found myself wandering to less busy parts. There was something about having so many people in a place that used to be sacred that I really disliked, but that got me thinking about Imperialism, and why certain people should have special privileges…… I stopped myself short from going too far down that bunny trail. The best moment of that part of the day was wandering into a large tree grove. The trees were completely foreign, but I felt the most at home I have since arriving, and that was a wonderful respite from all the newness. All of a sudden as I got a little ways into the grove I was enveloped with the sweet smell of nature, I couldn’t see the smog that perpetually covers this city, and I heard birds and crickets chirping. I sat and journalled for a while, and then went and met the rest of the group. After that we were let off in a down town area to do some exploring/shopping. Abby, Jessica, Meryl and I all went, and it was wonderful to be in a group of just close friends again. I like the whole group, but that had been the first time I had been with close friends when other people weren’t around, and again is was just nice to be comfortable even in a very strange and new setting. We browsed around, and I found a good bag that I’ve been needing. I didn’t have anything that was in-between my small “hidden” money pouch, and my backpack, so that was good to get. We had an interesting experience at supper trying to get our point across that Jess’s egg fried rice had never come, but it was on our bill. Then quickly back to the bus enjoying the beauty of the city all lite up at night. It was a wonderful day of small rejuvinations. I just hope I don’t get too sick the the next few days.




One response

28 08 2005

Dear Stephanie,
Thanks for the blog, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, but you will probably get this later some time. This may be the birthday you will remember the most.
We enjoyed the open house for Lenora, and visited for a while with Don and Beth Yoder.
I hope the cold clears soon.
God bless you.
Love, Dad

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