The Chinese Lunar New Year is always supposed to be a special family reunion occasion. However, it’s bound to be different and difficult this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, which was largely reported a week prior to the Chinese Lunar New Year. What made it more pertinent to me was that the virus originated in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, where I was born and brought up.
Decision to go back
The news I read in the first place didn’t provide sufficient information and made the situation look controllable. As time went on, we received a range of different warnings concerning the disease. Some said that it was similar to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes), a respiratory disease that China had gone through in 2003. It will be controlled soon based on previous experiences that had been successful. Some said that the actual situation in Wuhan was much more severe than the news reported. It’s better for people not to go to Wuhan or Hubei now.
With various speculations floating in the air, the decision of going back to Hubei was unexpectedly tough. Intellectually, I know it’s safer in Beijing than in Hubei. However, the uncertainty of the situation made me worry about my family even more. It’s hard for me to stay in Beijing alone and wait in anxiety. Finally, I resolved to go back home as planned.
A night train
Unfortunately, the situation went in a completely opposite direction than most of the people had anticipated. The amount of patients and infected areas were expanding each day, and Hubei was always on top of the list.
“Where are you travelling to?” asked the taxi driver on our way to the railway station.
“Hubei,” I answered him briefly.
“I heard the situation there is very serious,” said the driver. There was a long silence after that as I didn’t know how to reply.
Almost everyone in the railway station wore a face mask. I became even more uneasy, for I was heading to the province where most people were fleeing from.
It was a night train and I had to wear my mask during sleep. The elastic bands made my ears painful due to long wear. However, I dared not remove it since it was my only protection against the virus, even though I had no clue how effective it would be.
Considering the massive traffic on the train, every cough and sneeze made me nervous and doubt if that person was a contagious patient. Even though I was spared from the disease temporarily, nevertheless, the suspicion and fear that came along with it tormented me inside, which could be relieved only by prayer.
The following day after my arrival, 22 patients were reported to be infected in Xiaogan, the city I travelled to is 46 miles apart from Wuhan. Local government blocked the city on that day in case of further infection.
I thought to myself that I could be one of the infected patients! What if I am found infected and confront the risk of death?
A human being is truly vulnerable and insignificant before disease and death. It made me ponder on death seriously for the first time. The more I think about it, the more I recognize the preciousness of my life and every breath that I take. As a creature, there are tons of things that I have no idea of, among which is when will my life be taken away.
There is no doubt that God is the only One who knows the answer. What is left for me is the responsibility to live. To follow Jesus’ example and lead a life that counts for Him.
May God’s mercy be with China and rescue this land from the disease soon. May God humble China as a whole and produce fruit in keeping with repentance. May God’s people continually witness His glory in such situations and live out the most for Christ.
Cindy Cheng was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cindy’s previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html