20 July, 2017

Shrine On(with update)

Walking through Bangkok's Chinatown one morning, I came upon a trash pile, and in it was an old Spirit house from some shophouses being remodeled nearby. Usually they take to the country near a tree to dispose of. Obviously whoever put it in the trash was not related to the family who last owned it. I photographed it, and started to walk away, and came back thinking to myself this is an old one and has some charm. Perhaps, I can sell it.  Walking to a nearby store to quickly buy a bamboo brush to clean it up, came back and pulled it aside for the trash heap so I could brush it down. Just in time because the trash truck drove up, and the two men saw me cleaning it off and gave me thumbs up, and one even said it is about 100 years old. I was beginning to feel lucky, the closer I looked at it. Surely at home this would sell for a lot, but here no one would buy it. When done with cleaning it up, I walked it down a street to get a taxi home. The driver even said it is good find. I got it home, took into the shower area and wiped it down fully. I brought it into the room and set it in a corner. 

Later my partner came home from work, and upon seeing it, he bugged out, and said it can't stay here in the room. His upbringing dictated that the old spirits of the family would come here into our room. And ghosts are about the only thing he is scared of, that and angry people. Of course, my first internal reaction from my gut was don't push me into believing what you believe. It is a nice piece and I want to sell it. But he was throwing a fit like I have never seen, being as far away from it as possible. I told him to go out for a run, and I will figure something out. It was becoming a new test for me. I asked the manager of our apartment to allow me to store in their storage place, and when he came home from his run it was gone. They were used to me, and honor the fact I do Vipassana 10-days north of the apartment and were more than happy to store it.  My partner never asked about it, but he was relieved. I put in online to sell, and see what came out of it, but I was beginning to think of it as a test. What is more important how I see the world or adapting to each ever-changing event? I was putting everything on the line over this, if I were as stubborn as he was about it. What if the spirits came and affected our relationship? What would be the worse outcome? Was I putting things over people, and if so, it would inevitably come back to bite me hard. My partner is not about money, and has made this clear numerous times. If I am putting money ahead of his feelings, I am really screwing up.  I left it to sit in storage a bit longer. He never asked where it went.

It never sold, and today was the day to free the spirits out of their temporary room to outside near a tree. Where they move about with ease, and perhaps climb the tree. I carried it out on this beautiful sunny day and found a nice spot for it. Where it can rest undisturbed. Then walking to buy joss stick, candles, and flower garlands for it. I found the two elephants buried nearby and pulled them out to guard it. I lighted the incense and said my apologies to the spirits. I showed him where it was placed off the alley. I saw relief in his eyes. I am very lucky to have someone to care enough about to let the whole thing go, because it was so disrupting to the way he was taught and thus his being. It scared the crap out of him, and I did not make fun at the time, give me some credit. How silly can I be to think that I know better, when I could have asked him what do with it, when he first saw it? Still learning that the things we think we feel lucky to find, are often not the obvious thing we already have in our hand. Yep, thinking happiness lies outside of us ...bit me, again.

Now, it 5 years later and my husband is with me at home...ghosts are idea put in his head by elders in his village.  He exclaims, “There are No Gods and No Ghosts!” with the firm knowledge that he has now as he discovered more truth living outside of his culture. I am proud that he came to this on his own, since he jumped in totally learning English(back to square one in an English speaking country) and the freedom of knowledge he experiences here. One day, he will apologize for putting through hell with my shrine find. But I won't ask for it, and just smile with his new knowledge he arrived at without my help... via news, reading,  school and listening determinedly to podcasts to learn different English dialects. In 3 years with his hard work, he has made incredible progress and it delights his teachers. I just enjoy his unbroken discussions as it flows now almost effortlessly.

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