Thursday, April 7, 2011

Always Pearls...

 I’m a grain of sand becoming a pearl…
~Paula Cole

I remember it clearly, standing with my grandmother in her bedroom, looking through her closet for just the right dress—she would be burying her beloved of 60 years the next day—and she needed accessories to match.  

Later, as she sorted through her jewelry, fingering chains and broaches, she pulled an item from the wooden box with a delicate hand.  “There are always pearls…” she said softly, almost childlike, as she slipped the strand around her neck and smiled in front of the mirror. 

I’ve thought a lot about that moment in the three years since.  So many things have changed the landscape of all that I once knew.  Still, the wisdom of her choice lives on, for, indeed, no matter the circumstance, there are always pearls. 

Consider the way of a pearl.  It’s this hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living cell, borne from a set of circumstances where an intruder has slipped through a crack in the shell causing great irritation to the soft underbelly of the mollusk.  Rather than dying from this irritant, the mollusk forms a sac of tissue and secretes a concoction of calcium and such to soften the rough spot.  Yet through this process of repeated irritation and secretion, an incredible jewel emerges, valued all the more for its wild beauty.

We’re not so different, really, when we allow the small and buried irritants of life to open the cracks in our hearts wider still, transmuting our grief, sadness and doubt into great pearls of wisdom.  This powerful process is but one of the many reminders of how we may transform what seems most dark and unknowable within us into a polished light of beauty and promise to the world—that all has a place and meaning in the greater scheme of things. 

It’s not by chance that life so imitates nature, and in fully living we soon discover there are always pearls.
This article is dedicated to my Grandfather, Karl Mason (April 9, 1919 - July 17, 2008).  Shine on.


Flo said...

I LOVE your true story. I remember it well, too, the day Dad was burried and we helped Mom get ready. What a precious moment that was; even though the week was sad as heck, it was a precious moment and I am glad you turned it into an analogy for others to see how troubles in life can cause us to become beautiful. MOM

JJ said...

Beautiful. Pearls of Wisdom this morning. Thank you, Melissa - and Melissa's grandmother. I met a lady about 5 years older than me yesterday on an airplane. She's an orthopedic surgeon AND a defense medical malpractice attorney. Overachiever of the most high order. She works 70-80 hours a week, "always has." I asked if she enjoyed working that much. She said she knew no different. I'm still trying to figure that out. Doesn't seem natural at all. What's so funny, though, as I think about it, was the first hour of our conversation, BEFORE she revealed her occupation, she talked about her honey bees. Amazing honey bees. I'd love to start a hive or two so we really enjoyed talking about setting up the hives, working with the bees, collecting the honey... that's what she was thinking about when we first met - not her job!