Blossoming into a Better Me

By Chen Shu-zhen (陳淑貞)
Abridged and translated by Eddie Huang (黃永平)
Connie Chen (陳慷妮)

Blossoming into a Better Me

By Chen Shu-zhen (陳淑貞)
Abridged and translated by
Eddie Huang (黃永平)
Connie Chen (陳慷妮)

Lin Yue-qing's (middle) marriage once brought her significant physical and emotional distress. (Photo by Chen Shu-zhen)

As an established floral designer, Lin Yue-qing (林月清) enjoyed financial prosperity. However, no amount of wealth could fill the void in her heart created by living apart from her two children. While she brought beauty and joy to her customers through her floral art, she bore the weight of loneliness and sorrow within herself.

Born in 1952 in Changhua, Lin Yue-qing married a man seven years her senior and had two sons at the age of 23. However, unsatisfied with her marriage, Lin left her family for a fresh start in Taipei, where she dedicated herself to mastering the art of floral design. Through hard work, she became a renowned florist, sought after by many restaurants.

Lin's flourishing career brought her considerable affluence, but she felt a sense of emptiness as she deeply missed her sons. As a result, she often sought solace in traveling and shopping, during which she cultivated a passion for collecting perfumes from various parts of the world.

Lin showcases her excellent crafting skills by teaching children how to create artworks using recycled materials. (Photo by Chen Shu-zhen)

While watching TV one day, Lin found herself deeply inspired by the story of a Da Ai Drama. During the program, she caught sight of the number for a Jing Si Hall in Tainan. Eager to become a volunteer, Lin called them right away. "I want to work at Tzu Chi, and I don’t mind if it's unpaid," she said enthusiastically. "We're all volunteers here, so there isn't any compensation," the person on the other end responded. Having left her contact information, a surge of excitement coursed through Lin as she imagined being a Tzu Chi volunteer. Yet, days passed without any news, and her hopes were dashed. Encouraged by her sister, Lin made another call and left her number once more.

In 2003, Lin finally had the opportunity to complete six volunteer training sessions. But afterward, she hadn't received any further notice. With growing anxiety, she reached out again, and this time, Guo Shu-jing (郭淑菁) picked up the phone and invited Lin to be a cleaning volunteer at Jing Si Hall. Without hesitation, Lin agreed.

In 2016, a major earthquake struck southern Taiwan, resulting in the collapse of a residential building in Tainan. During the rescue efforts, Lin offered hot coffee to the police officers on-site, providing them with warmth and comfort. (Photo by Chen Yi-cheng)

Yet, ten days went by, and no word came from Guo. It turned out that Guo had accidentally lost Lin's phone number. This twist of fate led to an unbreakable bond between the two of them, and Lin began serving as a volunteer alongside Guo.

Over time, Lin's work with Tzu Chi has helped her overcome material desires. The brand-name perfumes and clothes that once offered her comfort all seemed insignificant compared to the fulfillment she derived from Tzu Chi publications and the sense of purpose she felt wearing her Tzu Chi uniform.

Despite having taken a break from volunteer work due to injuries from a traffic accident, when an earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023, Lin stepped forward once again to help raise funds for those in need.

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