In Japan, onsen is a fad. An onsen (温泉) is a Japanese hot spring; it also extends to the bathing facilities and traditional inns frequently situated around a hot spring. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsens scattered throughout all of its major islands.
It is customary that people who bath in onsens do so in their birthday suits. While some onsens have lockers, others do not. In such places, they put their stuffs all around the pool without care coz Japanese people will not steal other people’s stuff.
My friend once visited an onsen and saw a man and his wife in the pool – both butt-naked. The man was holding something over his head. Guess what! It’s his wife’s Louis Vitton bag! Imagine an LV bag on top of a man’s head in a pool of naked people. I didn’t know there exists a modern husband who would serve his wife to such extent. My friend (who’s single) said they must be newly-weds. It’s quite an astute observation coming from my unmarried friend.
How does one distinguish a genuine LV bag from a fake one? When the rain falls and the owner uses the bag to cover her head, you know it’s fake.
These stories might be funny. But they illustrate one important truth. Choices we make in life are defined by our values – what we consider important. We treat with care the things we value most. We do not want these things to be stolen or destroyed.
A pastor once shared that in any conflict, resolution is always to treat people as more important than matter or money. 人比事情重要. 人比錢重要。It is sad that many relationships are broken because people do not treat fellow human beings as more important than money or things. Living life in peace and harmony is a matter of perspectives.
Many times, arguments hubby and I had are so petty when I looked at them in hindsight. There were times, I cannot even remember what the issue was about. After 32 years of marital journey, I see more and more what it meant when Jesus told Peter to forgive 70×7 times. It is not about keeping count at all. It is doing over and over again the commitment to love one another.
It is not easy – this thing called love. Oftentimes, it takes more than just feeling good, warm and cozy. It takes a lot of mental struggle and determination to ‘love’ even when I do not ‘feel’ like loving. Anger, grief, pride, bitterness, self-pity – all these strive to take over. Many times, I struggled wearily and painfully to overcome these negative thoughts and feelings.
Through it all, it is by grace and grace alone, God’s grace that enables us to love as He loves. What is trustworthy and good to know is the truth that God loves me. He wants me to love Him and love my neighbour. Love is the greatest because in the end, love is the only thing that lasts.