Monday, June 7, 2010

A Sense of Wonder

                       Photos by Charles Elliott

This is not the moment for a long face or frown,
Throw your fears out of your mind and let the joy in –
It’s like finding a piece of jade in the middle of a dung heap:
The workman stands and wipes the dirt off it in wonder.

Kuan Yin Poem #16
~translated by Martin Palmer and Jay Ramsay

with Man-Ho Kwok

Last weekend I visited a sacred place in the desert. Just outside of the small town of Adelanto, California, in the middle of the high desert, stands a 60 ton, 25 foot tall white marble statue of the Chinese Goddess of compassion, Kuan Yin, The One Who Hears the Cries of the World. She stands at the end of a walkway of other white marble statues. How they are still white I don’t know. A rather large dust devil blew through and engulfed me briefly. I was coated in grit. Luckily I saw it coming; I turned away and covered my head until it passed.

This past year has felt like that, a year of being engulfed in windblown dirt spinning about me so that I could hardly breathe. All I could do was wait for it to pass. The cloud of dust came upon me when my husband came home from a doctor’s appointment. I knew the news wasn’t good when he said sit down before telling me. The C word was mentioned and from that moment on we were both caught up in the whirl wind.

The dust devil that was last year has now passed. My husband is doing well now, but I feel covered in grit like I was last weekend. It’s like I need to wash off all that fear and stress that built up over last year. But as the poem says, in the midst of dung the workman finds a piece of jade; such a wonder to find something so beautiful in a dung heap. It’s so surprising to find the jewel in our seemingly negative experiences, but if we look back we see that we’ve changed, usually in a good way. I know I’m stronger and I feel closer to my husband now.


Last weekend’s experience with the dust devil may have left me coated in dirt, but I also felt blessed by the wind and earth as I stood in front of Happy Buddha and watched the dust devil spin on into the distance. And I know Kuan Yin has heard my cries and has led me to find the beauty within my trials.


  1. There is always good in everything, even if it's just a small flicker of light in the darkness. =)

  2. And I'm so grateful for that. :-)