Painting a rainbow from life’s darkest storm

I first learned about Fu-Hua Chuang when my family and I watched a documentary that featured several severely disabled yet talented young people. I was struck by the radiant smile that seemed to illuminate her whole being, reflecting the inner beauty of her soul.

In 1994, Fu-Hua was a lively and promising ten-year-old Taiwanese girl who ranked at the top of her class and dreamed of becoming an artist. But tragedy struck when she and her family were caught in a house fire. Although all of them survived, Fu-Hua slipped into a three-month coma caused by smoke inhalation. When she regained consciousness, it turned out that the poisonous fumes had irrevocably and radically altered Fu-Hua’s life, leaving her blind, mute, and paralyzed from the neck down. Aside from head and neck mobility, the only physical ability she retained was her hearing.

As time passed and her friends and former classmates gradually forgot her, Fu-Hua slipped into deep depression that spiraled into suicidal thoughts. What hope was there in a wheelchair-bound existence, dependent on her mother to dress, feed, and help her with all the basic necessities of life?

It was a Christian television program that pierced through Fu-Hua’s anguish, inspiring her to put her trust in God. As her faith grew, so did her hope; and from her hope, three dreams emerged—to attend university, to become a writer, and to spread love to every corner of the globe. Between physical therapy sessions, Fu-Hua listened to over 300 audiobooks, which enabled her to build academic competence and graduate from high school. Then her teacher helped her gain entry to university, where Fu-Hua has since been pursuing her bachelor’s degree.

Through a painstaking process of moving her head to communicate in Morse code, Fu-Hua has also composed over 300 poems that articulate with optimism her struggles, faith, and experiences. Using this same method, Fu-Hua has also given motivational speeches at high schools across Taiwan and China. Through her speeches, she has touched thousands with the message of God’s love and hope. Her dreams are coming true!

Fu-Hua had every reason to give up on life, yet she not only chose to live but to make encouraging others her purpose. While her life will always be fraught with pain, difficulties, and struggles caused by her physical condition, Fu-Hua says, “Life is a path. At times we encounter pain, failure, and sorrow, but if we have faith, the future is always bright.”