Making a difference: Two stories of kindness to warm the heart

“…The boy looked at him, shrugged his shoulders and went back to throwing one more jellyfish back to the water, and told him,
‘…Made a difference to that one…’”

HOW about a double scoop of stories about the kindness of the human heart?

The first story is that of Lou Xiaoying. Lou is one remarkable Chinese woman who is a beacon of light, a ray of hope and a surge of warmth in a world that is sometimes overpowered by the forces of darkness.

Her story needs to be retold over and over again in light of the fact that recently in the state of New York, it has become legal (yet utterly amoral and starkly depraved) to terminate the life of the unborn at full term. A few states are following suit. Yet other states are enacting preemptive laws to prevent such evil becoming law.

May God have mercy on all of those evil lawmakers in New York and other states as they get their comeuppance.

I wrote about Lou a few years back to shine a light on the life of a woman, who despite humble circumstances, managed to save the lives of babies salvaged from the trash heap, apparently discarded by women in compliance with China’s then draconian one-child policy to curb its population growth.

She lived in the rural countryside in Eastern Zhejiang province. Picture her home as it was then. It is a humble hovel, its small yard littered with debris and recyclables. A little boy of 7 plays in the yard. Lou lived in that home with her husband Lin until he preceded her in death more than 20 years ago.

When I first wrote about Lou in 2012, she was 88 years old and lay languishing of kidney failure in a hospital. Despite pain and impending death, Lou looks beautiful in repose. Her eyes sparkle with joy. A calm peacefulness is etched in her face.

Lou and her husband made a living scavenging the village trash for recyclables. It was a tough, backbreaking way of life trudging through the streets and sifting through other people’s often filthy and smelly discards.

Over the years, they picked up 30 abandoned babies from the trash heap. Of the 30 foundlings they saved, the couple kept 4 babies to raise themselves and the rest, they gave away to friends and relatives. They have one biological child, a woman, who is now past 50 years old. When Lou was 82 and already a widow, she saved one more baby from the trash.

She said, “Even though I was already getting old I could not simply ignore the baby and leave him to die in the trash. He looked so sweet and so needy. I had to take him home with me … My older children all help look after Zhang Qilin … I named him after the Chinese word for rare and precious.”

Lou’s story is riveting for its simple, unquestioning reverence for life despite living in stark poverty. She didn’t start out wanting to rescue foundlings but in 1982, her heart was touched when she found the first child, a baby girl, who was lying helpless and abandoned amongst the trash.

“Watching her grow and become stronger gave us such happiness and I realized I had a real love of caring for children …
These children need love and care. They are all precious human lives. I do not understand how people can leave such a vulnerable baby on the streets. I realized if we had strength enough to collect garbage how could we not recycle something as important as human lives?”

Since 1978, the Chinese communist government has enforced, with few exceptions, its one-child policy. Families were prevented from having more than one child under pain of penalty. Those who abide by the rule are given bonuses and incentives. Boys are preferred in Chinese culture so that couples who want a son feel compelled to throw away infant girls. It is claimed that the policy prevented the birth of 400 million babies.

It seems that presently, China may have relaxed that social engineering policy for the time being, perhaps realizing the inadvertent negative effects on their society and culture over the long term.

Lou’s life story bears resemblance to the story of the little boy and the jellyfish that is doing its rounds in the internet these days.

There was once a little boy walking on the beach. He noticed that as the tide receded, there were thousands of jellyfish being washed up and lay stranded helpless on the shore. He picked them up one by one and began tossing each jellyfish back into the water, into the sea where they can survive and live.

A man also walking along the shore watched the boy in utter disbelief. To him, the boy was trying to do the impossible. Shaking his head, the man approached the boy and asked,
“Hey, kid, what do you think you’re doing? You can never make a difference. There are thousands of jellyfish. You’ll only save a few of them.”

The boy looked at him, shrugged his shoulders and went back to throwing one more jellyfish back to the water, and told him, “Made a difference to that one …”

Each precious human life saved certainly made a difference to that one life.

If the Lord gives us just one chance to make a small difference everyday in someone’s life, by all means take it. The world becomes an infinitely better place with every quiet act of kindness that we take.


Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail

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