I would like to tell you a beautiful, short little story today.
A story of hope, courage, luck and the will to live.
It’s the story of Rainbow Village in Taiwan.
A true story.
Once there was a young soldier from China, who came to Taiwan as a refugee. China was torn by a civil war a the time, and he was in trouble. He decided to follow his general into exile in Taiwan, where they moved into a remote village to make a new home for themselves. After an adventurous trip, they found themselves in a little village called Taichung on the west coast. Taichung was a small, sleepy place at the time. Few people lived there, and nothing spoke yet of the metropolis of many million inhabitants the city would turn into one day.
But at some point, rich investors recognized the potential that this little town held, and they started to expand it. They built skyscrapers, schools, hospitals, and they moved corporate headquarters there. The old stone constructions gave way to newer buildings, one by one. Old neighbors died or moved into more modern apartments that were offered to them. But one old man refused to leave his home.
He stayed in a flat that had been his home for 37 years.
How could he ever leave his place?
He felt more and more isolated, all alone in his own town. At some point he decided he would start to paint. He had not painted in ages, but he felt he needed color in his life, so he started painting the walls of his house. First on the inside, then on the outside. Then, when all the walls were covered, he started painting the floor. He painted and painted, every day. And gradually, one day at a time, he transformed his old forgotten part of town, a remnant of bygone times, into an oasis of color.
He had set out to bring color back into his life, and so he did.
Then the setback: The government wanted to force him to leave his home, to relocate into one of the modern apartment blocks and to give up his house. The home that he had just transformed was to be razed, and skyscrapers were to be built in its place.
But destiny came to aid him in an unexpected way: students had taken notice of his life’s work, and they started a campaign in his support. They wanted to preserve the colorful village and the artist’s home. Somehow, their petition went through, and the old man was allowed to stay and to continue painting.
The home he had transformed was now officially recognized as a work of art.
And you know what?
The man started painting only ten years ago. He was already older than 80. And he still lives in that same place, at 95 years of age. Every day he gets up at 3 am, every day he paints and takes care of the tourists that stream in from near and far. His life has changed completely in the span of only a few years. He has become a living legend.
What does this story tell us?
It is never to late to give new purpose to your life and to inspire people.
You are never to old to rekindle the flames of an old passion that lies dormant in you.
You are never too old to bring color into your life.
And you are never too old to fight. Even if your only weapon is a brush.