What a Winding Path I Had Walked!

He Wen

As a child of a cadre, I was raised carefully by my parents and familylived a comfortable life. My mother told me that when I was very young, a fortune teller said that I would be blessed in the future according to my auspicious time of birth. So I believed in fate and also believed that there was an Old Man in the Sky. When I grew up, one time a classmate said to me, “There is a fortune teller here. What he says is fairly accurate. We may as well go there and do fortune telling.” So, we went to have our fortunes told. I’d like to know the profession of my future husband, whether my marriage would be happy, and what my future life would be like. Nonetheless, the fortune teller did not tell me the profession of my future husband. Instead, he told me that it would be better for me to marry a man two or four years older than me, that I would have a beautiful marriage in the future, and that there would not be much hardship ahead of me, which offered me reassurance and filled my heart with great pleasure. In the twinkling of an eye, I reached the marriage age. Instead of pairing off with a man two or four years older than me, I married one five years older.

After marriage, my husband and I lived a happy life, and his business thrived, making him the richest man among the locals. I thought: That fortune teller is really accurate. Though I did not marry someone two or four years apart in age, my marriage is pretty satisfying. Carried away by this happiness, I believed that I would grow old with my husband and live in bliss for the rest of my life. Just when I was immersed in happiness, however, something unfortunate came upon me. My husband had an affair due to constant business travel and actually asked for a divorce, which led to the collapse of my sweet family. Faced with the lavishly decorated house daily, I felt a void in my heart, and waves of desolation swept over me. I was afflicted with depression and pain, but could not find a person to pour out my heart. I longed deep down to meet a Savior to deliver me from the abyss of misery.

At that time, I remembered those fortune tellers, who had abilities not possessed by ordinary men and must be capable of ridding me of this suffering and changing my life. I was eager to know the time—how long I had to wait before my husband returned to me. So, I went to have my fortune told. However, the fortune teller only said that my husband would not divorce me, without giving any further information about when he would have a change of heart, which left me disappointed somehow. But I was not discouraged, and went on to seek other fortune tellers everywhere in order to know the exact time this long and painful waiting could come to an end. I believed that there would always be someone who could help me out among so many fortune tellers. Nevertheless, every time I went holding out hope yet returned in disappointment. The repeated disappointments caused me to drop into a miserable abyss. I felt very puzzled: Why can’t those fortune tellers help me since they are so capable? Can’t they see me tormented in pain? Why do they not only not get me out of the misery but make me even more helpless and agonized? In the end, my husband still divorced me.

That failed marriage hit me hard. I did not want to stay there anymore, a place of heartbreak. I wished to make a fresh start. My former husband did not cherish me, but there would be someone who treasured me. Later, I was introduced to my present husband, who was six years older than me and worked in another province. After some time of contact, I found he was very thoughtful, and then we started a family. However, I failed again this time. My husband often lied to me and said he had to work overtime. He hung out in karaoke bars every day and even led a double life. In the face of all this, I felt so painful as if a needle had been stabbed into my heart, which was just about to heal. I cried all day long, and could not help but think: Why do I have to suffer so many hardships? Who can help me out of this suffering and retrieve the lost happiness?

In despair, I once again thought of those fortune tellers, who were assisted by some spirits. Since they could cast out demons, they must also be able to drive away the women around my husband. So, I pinned my hopes on them. Yet all my efforts ended up in vain after several twists and turns. The last fortune telling man said with a sigh, “You might as well receive Guanyin Bodhisattva into your home. She is a merciful god who delivers all beings from suffering. You may burn incense for her in the morning and evening and ask her to change the mind of your husband.” Thus, I received Guanyin Bodhisattva into my home and lit incense and kowtowed to her in the morning and evening in order to win my husband back. Later, my husband took home the god of wealth which he worshiped in his factory after discovering that I worshiped Guanyin. Each morning and evening, I had to burn incense for both Guanyin and the god of wealth, asking one to turn my husband around, and the other to bless his factory with a healthy profit. Moreover, I burned gold ingots folded out of paper for the two gods. As Guanyin was a vegan and the god of wealth preferred meat, I had to make vegetable dumplings for Guanyin and meat dumplings for the god of wealth on the first and fifteenth days of every lunar month, the busiest and most tiring days for me. Just like this, I did such things day in day out for the happiness of my family however tiring they were. But no matter how hard I tried to please the two gods, there was not the slightest change of my husband’s heart. At that time, I was perplexed: Is my heart not pious enough? Are the two gods unsatisfied with what I’ve done? If not, why does the heart of my husband remain unchanged? And why has his factory not yet made a good profit? Since they refuse to help me as gods, who can save me from the abyss of misery? What on earth should I do?

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