The Strange Case of the Yin/Yang Flower Girls

Posted: June 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the words Yin and Yang? Probably you imagine the unity symbol of dark and light intertwining mirror opposing parts. Or you may think of the roots of the concept in ancient Chinese metaphysics. It exists in Confucianism. And Taoists draw upon it as it is found one time in the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu. The basic concept is that opposites need one another, and exist because of each other. Only when both sides of an opposition are recognized, when pairs become twins, can the whole be known: Day and night, cool and warm, male and female, even and odd, north and south …

But when I think of the Yin and Yang I now think of flower girls at a wedding. Let me explain.

It was the typical wedding. The guests had arrived and taken their places. The long preparations were finally at their end and the actual event was commencing. The groomsmen stood in a line in front, like so many penguins. The bridesmaids strolled somewhat awkwardly down the aisle. One almost fell off her shoes. And then, preceding the Bride, the flower girls made their entrance. There were two. I will name them Yin and Yang.

Yin was maybe six years old and understood her role well. She was preparing the way of the bride and as she walked up the long, carpeted avenue she scattered rose petals left and right. Yin had a regal air about her, as one carrying a treasure up to the palace.

Yang was younger, perhaps four, and she followed behind Yin. She, too, sensed the importance of the moment, how the whole assemblage was counting on her to do her part. But somewhere along the way the very young Yang had not quite understood the flower girl memo. Because as Yang walked up the aisle,  she dutifully retrieved each and every rose petal left behind by Yin, filling her basket.

On the way to their destination Yin and Yang had both scattered and gathered, arriving with one basket empty and the other full. Together they comprised two sides of the same flower girl, each having offered what the other lacked.

Once upon a time Jesus said something about the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He was always talking paradoxes. And of course, the first and last need one another to be what they are.

In my mind they will be casting and gathering forever, Yin and Yang will. Maybe they always have been.

  1. Menina says:

    Such a delightful take on this unity idea.

  2. Barbara says:

    When Barrett was 4 and Leslie was 3, they served as flower girls for the bride for whom Leslie was named. As Leslie proceded up the aisle behind the bride, she dutifully dropped her rose petals very carefully on the bride’s train, and then proceded to step very carefully on each one. The bride laughed all the way down the aisle! as she felt a tug on her train each step!!

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