or… the oyster conference
The pearl: a precious gem I’ve come to love. The milky luster portrays a certain richness, a smooth finish that holds a touch of mystery. It also possesses value, as we see in Jesus’ parable from Matthew 13, where the Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a merchant searching for fine pearls; he then found a pearl of great value and sold everything he had to purchase it. And there is a reason that heaven is referred to as “the pearly gates.” The heavenly city portrayed in Revelation 21 has streets of gold, buildings of precious stones, and twelve gates, each comprised of a single pearl. What an image.
When I consider this jewel of the sea, it leads to pondering. Though this may seem like an unlikely source of encouragement, I can’t help but think of the words of Stephen King. Yes, that Stephen King. His book On Writing is a wonderful manual for the would-be writer, even one like me who is normally not a connoisseur of his particular genre. When reading On Writing last spring, I found several gems of advice. The note that stuck with me most, though, wasn’t about the written word as much as it was a reflection of life. On page 232, King reminded us, “It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters.”
Am I guilty of attending life’s oyster conventions, or is there a deeper lesson to be gleaned here? Looking at the pearl, I realize that though I am certainly not a mollusk, the sandy bits of life do seep under my shell. This is when I have a choice: either allow these to irritate and become an ugly part of life, or bathe the “dabs of grit” in prayer. Maybe even embrace these little intrusions. Roll them around in tears, entreaty, thanksgiving and fellowship.
Ah, creating beauty from life’s irritants. Can life’s bothers become treasures? How I wish they would, but that oyster finishes the lesson with a reminder: beauty can come, but the pain comes first. Thank you, Mr. Mollusk. With him, though, the beauty isn’t visible during his lifetime. My prayer differs here. Perhaps God will make a pearl of life visible for me to appreciate and share. Teaching in life’s “pearl-making seminars” may not be such a bad thing after all, Mr. King.