Life is full of turmoil

Haran ni michita jinsei. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

波乱 (Haran) means “turmoil.” The left side of the first character represents water and the right side represents wrinkled leather. The second character’s left section represents a pin cushion and the right side symbolizes a tangled thread.

満 (Michi) means “full.” The right side of this character represents a container full of sake.

Haran ni michita jinsei. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

人生 (Jinsei) means “life.” The first character represents a person and the second character symbolizes “life.”

In our lifetime, there may be many ups and downs. Some people live with very few problems in their life. Many of us admire this and wish to live happily and peacefully without any problems or difficulties. However, there was a Konko minister who surprised everyone by saying, “As I begin my practice of the Konko faith, I hope to have more sufferings or challenges in my life.” I think he might have said this because of the teaching, “Suffering is divine favor in disguise.” In other words, we can see everything that comes into our life as a blessing, even if others see them as misfortunes.

We can maintain a heart of deep appreciation and live a happy life. Do you think you can see your misfortunes as blessings?

I read about someone who was able to do just this. Ami Sano was born without arms or legs. Though she was disabled, she was very happy. When she was seven years old, she wished to go to a regular school. Her parents also wanted her to attend a regular school. However, it was a great challenge for her. She was used to being protected at home by her parents. At school, her classmates avoided her because she was not normal. She struggled while trying to make friends.

However, she did not give up. She asked everyone to be friends with her.

She eventually made some good friends. Instead of being shy, she started conversations with everyone she met. This made people more comfortable because she had a bright heart and smile.

Eventually, she entered high school. One day, she was watching the cheerleaders. She was impressed by their smiling faces and high energy. It made her happy to see them cheer everyone up at the games. She was determined to join them. The cheerleader group finally accepted her.

However, she knew she could not dance with the other girls. It was frustrating, but it could not be helped. At that time, her teacher said to her, “You can’t dance with the other girls, but you can use your mouth and voice to cheer people on.”

She became an advisor for the group. She took it upon herself to check on all the girls and their expressions while they were practicing cheerleading. She wanted to make sure their faces and smiles were bright and cheery. When her school held a cheerleader’s contest, she was able to join them for the first time! She received many cheers from the students.

When she grew up, she wished to marry. However, she thought that she would have to give up that dream because of her physical condition. She became depressed again for a while, but she tried to overcome this limitation and tried to keep smiling. One day, she met a man who accepted her for who she was and they got married. The next challenge was to fulfill her wish to have children. She wanted to raise and nurture a baby with the help of her husband. Again, she thought this would be impossible. However, she didn’t give up. She started to practice dressing a baby doll using her mouth. Because of her tremendous efforts, she was able to do well.

Soon after that, she was blessed with a baby. Her husband was able to help take care of their baby during the night, but when he went to work during the day, she had to take care of her baby by herself. She was able to do this independently with little help. Ami-san had gone through many obstacles during her lifetime. However, she was still able to live joyfully and peacefully while always smiling.

Many of us have arms and legs and can’t imagine what it would be like to live without our limbs.

However, if we can remember this amazing story, we can often remind ourselves of the deep appreciation in our everyday life no matter what turmoil or challenges come our way.

Rev. Masato Kawahatsu is a minister at the Konko Church of San Francisco and Konko Center of South San Francisco, who teaches shodo (Japanese calligraphy). He can be reached at or (415) 517-5563. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

See the 2024 CAAMFest