“You are wasting your time.”

In this excerpt from Myra Scovel’s autobiography, The Chinese Ginger Jars ©1962, Brother Li has come to visit her husband as he recuperates from a gunshot wound inflicted by a drunken Japanese soldier during the war years:

Fred was amused, but he was looking very tired.

“One would think that you never had a serious moment,” I said, laughing. “Let’s go downstairs and have a cup of coffee. It’s time for Fred to have a nap.”

“Brother Li, you’ve made me feel like a new man,” said Fred. “Happiness is good medicine.”

“Happiness is my mission in life,” Brother Li replied as he rose to go.

“Happiness is my mission in life.” I thought of the words as he pedaled out of the front gate and I remembered the day Brother Li showed me the pair of shoes he was making for an old priest who was having trouble with his feet. He had explained his contrivings to make the shoes comfortable.

“You are wasting your time making shoes,” I said to him. “You would make a wonderful priest. Why didn’t you go on and study to become one?”

He had looked at me as if I were a child. “You do not understand,” he said. “I make shoes for God.”

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