Quan Yin in my garden
During the early 1960’s my husband’s family spent several years in Bangkok Thailand as medical missionaries. Out of that experience came many exotic stories from a land far from Tennessee. One story is particularly legendary, the family was visiting a different exotic location and in the hotel lobby was a sign that said “Fresh Girls from Bangkok”. To use those words to describe the world’s oldest profession was definitely a new experience and so the story was told many times.
Many years later as a birthday joke my friend Jane gave my father-in-law a cement lawn ornament of a “Fresh Girl from Bangkok”. So the girl from Bangkok took up residence in the side yard and has been there for the last 25 years.
A couple of months ago my friend Mary was visiting and saw “Fresh Girl” and said “I love your Quan Yin”. What? Quan Yin the goddess of compassion? I had long studied and loved Quan Yin and she had been on my personal altar for years but I was so indoctrinated in the family story that I never saw that the Goddess had been with me for so long. My very conservative Christian family had actually been protected by the Goddess all of those years and we only saw her as a prostitute.
I now love Quan Yin more than ever for being there even when I couldn’t recognize her. Much like the false story of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, the truth was hiding in plain sight. The Goddess was waiting patiently for me until I was finally ready to see her. She didn’t mind the heat and the cold or the name calling. Her job was to be there holding love and compassion on this special place.
I look back on the events of the last three decades and see how slowly, slowly things were being set in place for this new phase of my life. I bless Quan Yin for her protection and guidance all those many years. The Goddess has been with me all along and I didn’t even realize it. Her reputation has been restored and she has an honored place in my garden and my heart.