Poem by Zhang Xiuhong
I didn’t hear the sweet voice of my baby,
I didn’t embrace the wanderer come back from afar,
I didn’t see my loved one’s thin and weak figure,
I didn’t have heart-to-heart talks with my sister,
I didn’t taste the delicious food prepared by my mother-in-law,
I didn’t bask in the rays of the morning sunlight,
Or take a stroll as the sun sets.
Or ride on a high-speed train to go somewhere.
This year, the sound I often heard,
Was the slam of metal doors, sharp and piercing,
This year, the sight I often saw was hopeless eyes,
This year, the food I had every day was the unchanging “three dishes and a soup,”
This year, the farthest I went was less than 1,000 meters [approximately 3,281 feet] away,
This year, I received a staggering fine,
This year, I saw the judge of my case twice, not at the court, but where I’m being detained.
Was this a tough year for me? Painful? Lonely? Living each day like a year? Absolutely not!
This year, I was never in a dark place while waiting; the sun above the clouds shined upon me and nourished me;
This year, I was never homesick;
This year, I enjoyed the bounty of grace because my trust in the Lord who called me brought me unspeakable glory and joy;
This year, the world drifted farther away from me;
This year, my Lord drew ever closer to me;
This year, I received the fruits of the Lord’s Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control;
This year, I bathed in His love;
This year, my soul broke free from the metal bars of prison and soared in the Kingdom of God;
This year, I lived in hope and divine promises….
Your sister in Christ,
*In 2015, police officers seized Zhang and framed her for embezzling money, all because of her Christian faith. She was sentenced to five years in prison.