Neighbors Are Dearer Than Distant Relatives

Xiao Mei

PureInsight | February 21, 2005

[] After we moved from our apartment to a house, we have a larger living space but we are not as close to our neighbors as we were to our neighbors in the old apartment building. My current neighbors and I are busy with our respective lives and live behind closed doors. We go for days without seeing each other. But in a recent accident one of our neighbors and I each displayed our kindness and friendliness and manifested an old Chinese saying, "Neighbors are dearer than distant relatives."

It happened on a Friday two weeks ago. When my husband and I drove home from work, we saw three police cars parked in front of the house of my neighbor Mr. Feng. Three policemen were talking to another neighbor, Mr. Zhao and his family. I thought to myself, "Oh, No! What happened?" My husband and I jumped out of the car and tried to find out what had happened.

The police told us, "An hour ago Mr. Feng injured his thigh when he was working on his deck. He cut a major artery in his thigh with his chainsaw. He bled a lot but fortunately he called 911 in time. The ambulance has rushed him to the hospital ER."

"Oh, my goodness! It's terrible. Is his life in danger? What can we do to help?" We asked. Both my husband and I are medical doctors and we both know the consequence of cutting a major artery.

The police said, "Mrs. Feng has already left work. She is now on her way home. It'd be great if a neighbor could take her to the hospital." That was only thing that the police asked us to help with.

"No problem. Consider it done. Is there anything else we can help with?" Everyone was very alert and attentive. We and other neighbors were all very worried about Mr. Feng.

My husband I went inside our home and had a quick dinner. We went out a few times to check if Mrs. Feng had returned, but we didn't see the light in her house being turned on. Later we learned that Mr. Zhao, another neighbor, had driven Mrs. Feng to the hospital. Mr. Zhao knows that we have two children, so he didn't want to trouble us.

Then Mrs. Zhao called us past 11:00 p.m. to inform us that Mr. Feng was in surgery and should be out of danger soon.

The next day, my husband and I made a bowl of noodles and brought it to the hospital. Mrs. Feng looked like a completely different person. She looked tired and dehydrated. She said, "The doctors have finished the surgery and reconnected the artery. But my husband's body is extremely swollen because they had to transfuse a large amount of blood quickly." She was very fidgety and anxious because she was so worried. She refused to eat or drink. We tried our best to ease her jitters. "Don't worry. The doctors will take good care of him. As long as the artery is stitched up, he will be OK. You must try to eat something. How are you going to be able to look after him if you become sick?"

"But I cannot eat. I cannot stop worrying until I see him. I know there is nothing I can do to help, but…" Then Mrs. Feng burst into tears again. Her son was calmer. He tried to comfort his mother.

"There is only so much man can do. Why don't you pray to the gods?" I suggested.

"I guess you are right. I did not believe in anything, but last night I thought, 'I will become a Buddhist when my husband gets well.' Oh, I felt as if the sky had collapsed! I wouldn't know what to do if the neighbors did not help me through this."

I asked if Mrs. Feng needed any cash. She replied, "Mrs. Zhao loaned me some cash last night. She is such a thoughtful woman."

After that weekend, my husband and I started to go visit Mr. Feng every day because the hospital is right across from our company's office building. During the first two days, Mr. Feng was heavily medicated with tranquilizers and connected to many tubes. On the fourth day, the doctors took him off the tranquilizers, so he woke up. He responded a little when Mrs. Feng talked to him.

Mrs. Feng shouted, "Honey, our neighbors have come to see you."

I approached Mr. Feng and said, "This is Xiao Mei. Everyone is very concerned about you. Just rest! When you feel pain, think of the words 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.' Hang in there. Can you remember what I say?" I shared with him the secret method that has helped me overcome all the obstacles in life since I started my Falun Gong cultivation practice. Now I shared it with Mr. Feng. He struggled to nod his head. Tears formed in the corners of his eyes.

A week later Mr. Feng became fully awake, but he did not have a very clear consciousness or memory of what happened. As soon as he woke up, he reprimanded his wife and son and called them stupid. Mrs. Feng didn't mind and was glad to see he had recovered some of his strength. She said to Mr. Feng, "Honey, you are welcome to curse me as much as you want. As long as you are feeling better, I am willing to forgive you no matter what you do or say." Upon hearing these words, Mr. Feng stopped cursing. I think everyone would feel touched to hear Mrs. Feng's words. When my husband and I went to visit Mr. Feng in the hospital, he talked like his usual self at first, but soon he seemed a little muddle-headed. At one moment he said he was now in his hometown in northeastern China. Next he said he was now in southern China. Next he started to singing. Mrs. Feng winked at us, signaling us not to mind her husband.

A day later, Mr. Feng became completely normal. All the doctors said that he recovered very fast. It was then that Mrs. Feng finally told her husband how much the neighbors had helped since the accident. She also told Mr. Feng that my husband and I had come to visit him at the hospital every day. Mr. Feng was astonished. "When did they come to see me? How come I don't remember any of their visits?" It appears he was talking in his sleep during all of our visits. Now that he has come to his senses, we told him what he had said during our visits and teased him a little to make him laugh.

After my husband and I returned home, we called on Mr. Zhao and told them Mr. Feng's recovery. We all felt better to know Mr. Feng is feeling better.

Mr. Feng is a typical tough guy who does not usually reveal his feelings, but this time he openly admitted that he was deeply touched by the neighbors' kind help. "Since I moved to our new home, I have never tried to make friends with my neighbors. Now I realized that I have such kind people as neighbors. I had done so little for my neighbors in the past"

I replied, "It's nothing. We are all kind to each other, except that you haven't had a chance to show it. I believe that you will offer your hand when others need it." Lately, we often quote this ancient Chinese saying in our conversation, "Neighbors are dearer than distant relatives."

Mr. Feng felt better and better each day and was finally was released from the hospital yesterday. In just ten days, Mr. Feng and his wife have become closer, and they've made many friends in the community. Mrs. Feng still has not become a Buddhist, but she knows my family and I practice Falun Gong One day Mrs. Feng suddenly said to my husband and me, "I don't think you are like typical Falun Gong practitioners at all." I assumed she must have fallen prey to the Chinese Communist government's hate propaganda against Falun Gong. So I said to her, "It appears you don't understand Falun Gong. My husband and I are very typical Falun Gong practitioners, who are known to be kind to others. Actually, my husband and I often feel we are not kind enough."

Three weeks have passed since the accident. Yesterday the police came again to check on Mr. Feng's injury. They saw Mr. Feng walking in the backyard and thought he was a neighbor of Mr. Feng. The police asked him, "How's Mr. Feng?" Mr. Feng replied, "See? I am walking fine now." The police were stunned, "You are Mr. Feng? You did not even have any blood pressure when we arrived at the scene of your accident. How the earth did you recover so quickly?" Mr. Feng told us afterwards, "It's because of all the neighbors' tender care!"

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