I have a beautiful pearl necklace that was given to me years ago. I think I’ve only actually worn it a handful of times. Pearls aren’t really my thing, they’ve always felt a bit stuffy to me; always the same size and shape which makes it hard to tell if they are real or fake. I’m more of a silver and black kind of gal, chunky, handmade looking with bits of imperfection.
I got to thinking about that necklace the other day and pulled it out to look at it. It really is beautiful. Each of the pearls have their own, unique shape and luster. As I looked closely, I noticed that one of the pearls actually has a bit of a bump on it making it not quite as round and perfect as the others. It kept the perfect pearl necklace from being truly perfect – it made it real! And then I remembered why it was given to me!
My friend knew that I wasn’t the neat and tidy type of person. They knew that even that one, imperfect pearl would speak to me more than a long strand of perfectly uniform ones. My life isn’t neat and tidy, neither is my hair, or my music selection or my career path. But every day of my life has provided me with all shapes and sizes of moments and memories. Some are great, some not so great, but strung together they create my very own string of pearl moments.
I wondered what happened to this one little pearl that made it so unique. Why did the others end up being smoother? Really, where do pearls even come from? So I Googled “how are pearls made” and found this interesting little explanation:
Natural Pearls form when an irritant – usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand – works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called ‘nacre’, is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed
I got to thinking that life would be so boring and non-engaging if there weren’t little irritants along the way to help form new shapes and experiences; irritants that make each of us unique and different. Can you imagine if we all looked exactly alike? Or thought the same way or sounded like each other? Life would not be the adventure I believe God meant it to be!
The fact that the pearl starts with that little irritant and then, over time that same irritant gets covered over and over again with a coating designed to smooth out the surface, changing it from a tiny parasite into something glossy and shiny makes me think: time does the same thing to the memories of irritating experiences in life.
I wouldn’t be who I am without the experiences I’ve had. The good ones make me smile and help keep my spirits lifted when I’m feeling a little down. The more challenging experiences make me humble and give me the ability to relate to others going through similar circumstances. And the further I get from the experiences themselves, the better perspective I have on what to do with the lessons learned.
I want to collect the memories of my experiences every single day – good, bad, boring, challenging, exciting, exhausting, all of them – and string them into a beautiful necklace of pearl moments. I want to be reminded that the little “irritants” of life are what created this most beautiful and curious of God’s creation, the pearl. And when I think of my pearl moments, I’m going to remember all the things that have made me who I am….a unique, imperfect thing of lustrous beauty!
Lord, remind me often that you love me and created me to shine as a thing of beauty! Amen