Growing up I had often heard of Buddha, but I had never heard of Quan Yin. At least, if I did, I never retained a memory of her name.
The first time I ever remember hearing that name wasn’t until I was 34. A friend and I went to a bead shop in our town. She purchased a small metal pendant that was shaped as some sort of religious deity. We went back to my house and were sitting on the back deck, when my friend dropped the metal pendant. Try as we might, neither of us could find it anywhere- we actually never found it in the five years I lived in that house! During our search, I asked my friend who the religious deity was. She responded that it was Quan Yin, and I remember she repeated this several times. I asked her who Quan Yin was. She said that Quan Yin was like the female Buddha. As we searched on, fruitlessly, it quickly crossed my mind that Quan Yin apparently wanted to stay at my house.
Ten years earlier, when my oldest daughter first entered kindergarten, she was sent home with a small list of school supplies to bring to class. I really don’t remember what was on the list other than pencils. Obediently, we went out to purchase the items. It was actually a great excuse to go to one of my favorite stores – a very unique combination of art materials and cool, modern office supplies.
Towards the front of the store, there was a large display of a wide variety of floor and desk lamps. I was immediately drawn to a very unique lamp. The base and the flexible stand was white, and there was a ceramic cover over the light bulb. The ceramic cover was in the shape of a very childlike and innocent dragon head, painted in very soft and beautiful pastel colors of pink, green and blue. I was mesmerized by the gentle, feminine dragon’s face, and so were my daughters. We wanted that lamp!
The lamp was expensive – $25.00. I reminded myself that we just could not afford it. Twenty five dollars was the price of almost a weeks worth of groceries for my family, and we really did not need a lamp. I took my children and we walked away. We slowly walked around the store, choosing the items my daughter needed and looking at all the cool stuff! However, I could not get the lamp out of my head. I must have gone back to look at it again, 5 or 6 times. For reasons I could not explain, I really wanted that lamp.
Finally, with much discussion about it with my husband, I decided to make the leap and purchase the lamp. My daughters and I were beside ourselves, and so excited we could not wait to get her home! Oh, and yes, we immediately called her “she”. We carefully took her to our car. We had a silver Nissan Sentra wagon and we gently placed her in the very back. My daughters and I were filled with joy! It was truly unexplainable, why we were so affected by this lamp?!
I told my daughters that we needed to give her a name. My oldest daughter shouted, “Let’s name her Crystal!” Immediately, my youngest daughter and I agreed.
We got home and brought Crystal into the house and set her proudly on the floor next to the couch. Over the next few days, it seemed that Crystal became a part of our everyday existence and a member of our household. My daughters and I talked to her automatically. We said, “Good morning, Crystal,” and “Good night, we love you Crystal!” Somehow, inexplicably, I felt a glow of warmth coming from this lamp, and a feeling of connection and support emanating from “her”. It was clear that my daughters experienced it as well.
Less than two weeks after bringing Crystal home, I went downstairs and was very saddened to find the lamp on the floor, the ceramic dragon cover broken. Crystal was gone. Everyone said that they did not see it happen or make it happen.
Crystal soon became a distant memory. We owned this lamp for less than two weeks.
TEN YEARS LATER:
A few months after my friend dropped the Quan Yin pendant under my patio, another friend came for a visit from Arizona. A very dear friend of mine was living in Arizona and sent me a gift through this mutual friend. The mutual friend handed me a wooden painted statue of a woman’s head. It was painted in beautiful pastel colors of purply pink, turquoise and blue. Her face was serene and gentle. I had no idea who the carving was supposed to represent.
I called my friend in Arizona to thank her and ask her who the carving was supposed to be. My friend told me that she did not know, but that she had seen it at a garage sale and knew it was meant for me.
After the mutual friend left, I began looking for a good place to put the statue. I finally settled on the mantle over our fireplace. My oldest daughter was in her room and my youngest daughter was not home. Immediately I felt a sense of warmth emanating from this carving. The feeling was so familiar. I recognized this feeling. Suddenly, I remembered! Crystal! This was the feeling that I had felt 10 years earlier from our dragon lamp. Wanting to know if my children would also remember, I called my oldest daughter downstairs. As she entered the living room where I was, I pointed at the statue and asked her, “Who is this?” She looked at the statue and then at me and said very matter of fact, “It’s Crystal.”
Ten years collapsed. A lamp we only had for a little over a week, we never spoke of in our house again, and here she was, and we remembered. Crystal came back! In another form, but she came back!
A few months later, the first friend, who dropped Quan Yin on my patio, came for another visit. She looked at my new piece of art and said, “Oh, what a beautiful carving of Quan Yin!”
At that point, I began doing a little research about Quan Yin, but really, the details did not matter. At some deep level inside of myself, I felt that this was a small but powerful reminder that we are not alone, even when it feels like it. That we are being loved and supported all of the time. It was very comforting for me to even slightly feel that in my darkest hours, someone, somewhere was caring for me.