Unyielding Life -- Interview with Disabled Christian Artist, Huang Meilian

Huang once shared her story in Nanjing
Huang once shared her story in Nanjing (photo: CCD)
By CCD contributor: Paul Wu November 28th, 2016

Editor's note: In 1964, a baby girl, named Huang Meilian, was born to a Presbyterian pastor's family in Taiwan. Poor Huang suffers from cerebral palsy due to medical mistakes when born, which left the disability of the face and the limbs. She can't speak with a twisted mouth producing unstoppable saliva. At the age of 14, her family migrated to the United States and she studied at East Los Angeles College (ELAC). She continued to advance at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Having earned a doctor's degree in arts, she is a painter and writer. She was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Taiwan in 1993 and was the recipient of the 2010 Fervent Global Love of Life Awards. At the end of 2013, Brother Paul Wu from Trinity Church of Gulangyu Island, Xiamen, interviewed Dr. Huang.

Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Wu: How did your parents take care of you?

Huang: My father is a pastor. He is very special, not ashamed of my imperfection. As a pastor, he often went out for visiting, but he didn't hide me at home out of embarrassment, regarding me as the skeleton in the closet. Instead, he took me to the homes of his brothers and sisters, telling them that I was their precious daughter from God and God loved me and they loved me. So I have a very good mindset because I know that I am loved, precious in everyone's eyes. However, there is a strong feeling of samsara and deep consciousness of karma in the traditional culture. If a family has a member with a disability, he or she will draw comments and there will be some words, saying that if this family (or the disabled person in the previous life) did bad things thus they suffered this retribution. As a pastor, my father received much more biting sarcasm than normal people. Many people said, considering that he is a pastor, how could your God do this since he is almighty and loving? How could he have such a daughter like a freak since he is the servant of Him? This kind of voice was often heard. But our parents are devout Christians, who didn't think like this or were not influenced by these thoughts. But they loved me, letting me experience different things. 

Wu: Did you often encounter something unhappy in your childhood? How did you overcome them?

Huang: These things always happened. I was abnormal and weak in others' eyes. But I was astute as a child, evident to others' deeds. If somebody discriminated against or bullied me, I kept that in mind. For example, a neighbor who lived next door to mine visited my home and said some piercing words when seeing me...... These experiences made me weak. I prayed to God with tears, "Lord, why did you not heal me? You know that I wanted a normal body and to live a normal life?" The Lord didn't answer my question. But the next day I went to a room saw a sentence on the wall, saying, "Don't pray that life will be smooth and easy, but pray to become a strong person." The word has been powerful in my heart. Until now, I still believe that if God wills, I must be completely well. But God has his will that wants me to learn my lesson from my imperfection. Although often suffering from strange looks, I know that there are from men, not from God. I'm precious in his eyes. I will do this in the face of difficulties: first of all, pray to God, calm down and reflect on myself. Secondly, find a reliable and capable friend to talk about my problem. Thirdly, face it and figure it out. Fourthly, I will wait and relax if it cannot be solved.

Wu: who, among your teachers, impressed you the most in your childhood?

Huang: I met many excellent teachers when I was young. For instance, Teacher Ma Zhijiang, told my mom that I was talented in arts in my second grade. This helped me feel confident and establish a goal to be a painter. And Teacher Wu Suwei laid a strong Chinese foundation for me on the fourth grade. I can still write in Chinese after many years in U.S. She taught me to face problems by myself and never give up hope. I thank God and the teachers very much. 

Wu: Do you create any hymn?

Huang: Yes, IF I COULD SING is my work, my maiden work as I'm the songwriter. I couldn't speak since young due to the disability or sing a whole song. I can make some sound, but hardly controlling the voice like normal people... If I could sing a whole song, what would it be? Is it "Endless Love" BY Diana Rose, "Goodbye Kiss" or "Possession" by Jacky Cheung? I guess it won't be one of them, instead, a hymn to sing praises to God! Because God so loves me, people, animals and plants in the world, he is worthy of praise.

Wu: How do you regard your current achievement?

Huang: All the things are God's grace. I have only done my best to use my ability God gives me and to help others as God wants me to do.

Wu: Regarding suffering, what do you want to encourage everybody?

Huang: Despite that we sometimes are puzzled, discouraged or disappointed, these shall pass. We can comfort and teach those who have the same experiences by what we have been through. Moreover, we can live with more faith and strength, knowing how to embrace and treasure greater success from the failure. A lot of suffering do exist in the life. I cannot say that it's whose fault. Maybe hatred grows more in our hearts when we ponder over about who is to blame. It's not helpful to us, not good to myself, the family or friends. It produces more pressure and conflicts. Ask God to grant us quiet hearts to face it and change our hearts little by little, then alter the environment slowly. Even if the environment remains the same, we are still courageous and calm to do what should do. Suffering comes again and again, which turns out to be the chances of learning...... 

Translated By: Karen Luo

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