Saturday, January 9, 2010

Journey of the Heart Goes to a Wedding

Hien and Ly were married today in a celebration of their love, their hope and our congratulations for their happiness and courage. Hien is a talented paraplegic painter whose work is sold through Reaching Out and his beautiful bride is a physical therapist.....and yes they met much as Rick Hansen and his wife did, he the patient after a horrendous accident with a bus toppling him off his bicycle and she the loving hands encouraging him to maximize his remaining capabilities. He first began to paint while he was in the rehabilitation center where they met.

Despite their deep and tender love for one another their lives will not be easy. Ly's salary will barely cover the rent of a suitable house and although Hien's paintings fetch a very handsome $120 a piece, the unsteady income against the ever escalating cost of his therapy and medical expenses is a constant worry for the young couple. In his bid to become independent, Hien has discovered the advantage of using the internet to network and seek other outlets for his art. His immobility means that until now, he has had to wait for Ly to finish her shift at the rehabilitation center, to take him to an Internet cafe to access the web. Journey of the Heart, in patrnership with Binh and Quyen of Reaching Out presented Hien and Ly with a computer, modum, web cam....the works!!! as a wedding gift! It was a surprising gift, beyond their wildest imaginings. There were tears of joy all round....Hien and Ly, Binh and Quyen, Elaine, Hien's mother and his sister, the Sister, could not utter words....we simply hugged, smiled, nodded and said many many Cam On's ( thank you's). Thank you to Nancy and George and Dan and Bryna for making this possible. Your gifts will launch this young couple toward a more independent life.

Around large tables of ten, we enjoyed a five course luncheon in the court yard of the rehab center. As with all Vietnamese weddings, there was much loud karaoke music, with the Doctor in charge, Binh's therapist from 30 years ago, many guests and even the bride groom belting out the songs. One resident, not an invited guest, but who had watched the procedings from behind a curtain, could not restrain herself and at last wheeled her ancient self onto the "stage" and offered her musical tribute.
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