Unexpected Direction

By spring of 1994 my time in Taiwan was drawing to a close. I had almost finished my second year of Chinese studies and began asking myself what I was going to do when I returned to the States.  I thought I might pursue graduate studies in comparative literature but knew my Chinese was not good enough.  I was afraid to pursue journalism in Taiwan even though I had some contacts and it was something I really wanted.  Aside from keeping a journal,  I stopped writing because I doubted my ability.  I considered law school. Three years of professional school with a clear career objective and good income was attractive. But I couldn’t see myself  a lawyer. The uncertainty of the future and my inability to chose a profession ripped me  up inside.

I remember angrily screaming at the bathroom mirror one night. My roommates weren’t  home so I let myself cry.  The window was open but I wasn’t worried about alarming my neighbors. Domestic abuse was common in our apartment building. I loathed my inability to make a decision. I was so frustrated.  I hated my life.

One day not too long after this incident I had stayed home from classes because I was not feeling well.  It was particularly hot that day and my apartment did not have air conditioning. Having woken up from my nap sweaty and weak with flu symptoms,  I walked over to the pharmacy to get some medicine. The woman there gave me several packets of pills wrapped in paper and I took them when I got home.

The next thing I knew I was on the bathroom floor. I must’ve overdosed on the pills. As I was getting up, I knocked the back of my head hard on the bathroom sink and slammed back onto the ground. Lying supine, I discovered I could not breathe nor  move my limbs. I was paralyzed.  Since I could not breathe, I was probably going to die.

I looked around, praying there were no cockroaches on the floor near me.  Thankfully, there were none.  I did not want to die with cockroaches around me. (Surprisingly I feared cockroaches but  was not afraid of death. ) My life flashed before my eyes.  I remember praying that my parents would know God, feeling sorry I was upset at one of my friends for not offering to pay for her meals,  and regretting all the time I wasted worrying about my future.  In a moment of clarity I heard the words:    “Give, you must give. This is the meaning of your life.”  My mind was clear and I felt peace. Albeit a little late, finally I had direction.

Author’s Reflections:
After receiving the revelation (which I believe was from God),  I was able to breathe. I crawled back to my bedroom and passed out on my bed. One of my roommates found me and called over a doctor friend who diagnosed me with a concussion. The words “Give, you must give” have never left me.  I have not always liked those words, but I know they are to guide my life. In giving I will find meaning.  I’m still not sure exactly how.





Author: Patricia Tina Wu

I'm a teacher educator, realtor, mom, and now also a blogger. I've worked in corporate sales and marketing and as an elementary school teacher. Settling into a career has always been difficult for me. I hope that my experiences will help career seekers, young people, and their parents navigate what is sometimes a confusing and difficult area of life. I'm not out of the desert yet, but things are finally starting to make more sense.

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