Answer: Read on and see.
So last Thursday I was standing at my bedside removing my watch and praying about what my next entry here should be. As I got ready to settle in for a night of writing my eyes casually glanced over to a beautiful three strand pearl necklace Ben gave me for Christmas. I stared at them for a moment, thinking ....there was something about those pearls. I picked them up and began sliding my fingers up and down the smooth strands. "What is it about pearls....?" Now, I know how and where pearls come from and how they are made and where they are mentioned in the Bible but I knew there was something deeper, somewhere deeper I was supposed to go with this...so I kept praying.
One of my habits when writing is to collect my thoughts, ideas, photos and tasty tidbits first by throwing them into one massive pile on the page. Then I sort through the page as I sort through my thoughts. It tends to be a bit eclectic like I am....lol. So that night I looked for the perfect picture of a pearl or pearls, next I dug up some facts about how pearls are created. As I read through what I already knew about the process it hit me very distinctly what it was about that pearl necklace that I was supposed to share here at Anthem. By this time however it was pretty late at night and I was tired so I opted to finish the next day.
Interesting how things so simple develop...
The next night, however, I was in the ER. Don't worry, I'll spare you the gross details. Needless to say however, what we thought was food poisoning turned out to be some sort of violent stomach flu (probably caught from one of the beloved sprouts at sprout central) which forced me into 72 hours of bed rest...and shall we say......purging......at home. Something I didn't feel like my busy life could afford, but I am certainly thankful for now....if for no other reason than it opened the door for me to expand what I wanted to share with you about those pearls. Come on...did you really expect me to NOT find the good in it? PFFFTTTT....oh how little you know me. LOL.
So......back to my question.... What do you and I, Wayne Elsey and Melody Gardot have in common?
Well, let's start out by answering who Melody Gardot is. She is a chart topping artist who sings as if her vocal chords are made of velvet. I love jazz and blues and so when I listen to her she makes my eyes close and I wander to a most relaxing place. She also brings out my French heritage...she is American, but her music is reminiscent of everything my Parisian French roots call out for. If you haven't guessed it, I am a fan.
Since I was forced to be home in bed Sunday instead of at church as I usually am I happened to have the television on to keep me and the fuzzboy company as I lay convalescing and I saw CBS' Sunday Morning. A program I have liked since I was a little kid, but rarely ever get to see. Sooo....I'm going to let you read the brief transcript of Anthony Mason's piece with Miss Gardot because it will fill you in far better than I on who this woman is and how she came to be the artist she is today. How Melody Gardot Found Her Voice
Now I don't know anything about Miss Gardot's personal life other than what I have seen on tv and read, and I don't know what her faith is if she even has any. She may or may not agree with my beliefs...although I would like to think she would, only because it is extremely evident to me that she is a woman who has MUCH to be thankful for. She took a life altering event, something that could have destroyed her...literally, and with much work made it into something beautiful for all to see and share. In short, she overcame.
Soles 4 Souls. As you can see, the life altering events that could have destroyed his own life only propelled him to be the catalyst to take other life altering events that destroyed so many and so much and make something beautiful and life altering for many to share. Another over-comer.
Now by the natural progression of my blog so far you would think my next step is to go to you and I, well...here is where I deviate. Now it's time to jump to that oh so eye opening info I pulled up about pearl farming. Remember what started all of this? That strand of pearls in my hand....I knew there was SOMETHING I was supposed to share about those pearls...and here it is. Yeah yeah, you know, pearls are made when a grain of sand gets into an oyster and blah, blah, blah....second grade science.
Yeah, you're right, but indulge me for a moment. Read this brief little snippet I pasted below from Pearl-Guide.com
The process of nucleation is a surgical procedure, whereby a foreign object is implanted into the oyster. This object causes irritation, which the oyster counteracts by secreting nacre to surround the object; this produces the pearl.
The Pearl Is Now Allowed To Grow
After nucleating, the oysters are given a few weeks to recover from the surgery. During this time, some of the oysters may reject and expel the implanted nuclei; others may become sick or even die. Most, however, will fully recover. The oysters are then placed in cages or nets and moved into the oyster bed, where they will be tended as the pearls develop. Depending on the type of oyster, this process can require anywhere from a few additional months to several more years!
Finally, The Pearls Are Harvested
Wow....ok, NOW I can move on to the you and I part of this entry.
Everyday, you and I have foreign objects implanted into us for the purpose of causing irritation. Not to make us miserable, but to give us the opportunity to counteract it and create a pearl! We can reject and expel that irritant or become broken, sick and dead in spirit because of it or we can choose the third option and fully recover and create something beautiful out of what once hurt us. It may take weeks, months or years, but if we accept it and let the process take it's course it will develop a pearl.
I have many pearls in my life that I didn't realize were pearls until this week. I just never thought of them that way, and to be honest sometimes it can be frustrating to try and explain why you're a Pollyanna to someone that only understands Scrooge. I've had people become angry at me and call me names and tell me I live in a fairytale because I am so happy all the time. I've been told I'm not connected to reality because I don't embrace pain and hurt like the psalmists in the Bible did. PFFTT...whatever! I just shake my head because they really don't get it. I'm happy because I CHOOSE to wrap that pain and irritant in the nacre that is my deep seeded faith and let it surround that object to create a pearl. Then when the time is right, I let my God harvest that pearl out of my life. As far as embracing pain and hurt, hmmm...I do embrace it, but in a way that those blinded to it will never be able to understand. Those oysters don't stay spread open for weather and element to disrupt the process and to brag to all the other oysters about "woe is me" how big and horrible their irritant is. Instead they stay closed around that irritant to ensure that the work is completed. I embrace my irritants alright, but not to wallow in the glory of the irritant, but instead to try and keep my focus on the glory of the pearl to be .
It's not just me either, so many others have done and are doing the same. My best friend Beth has had many a foreign object implanted in her life to cause irritants and she has let God harvest a beautiful strand of pearls out of each one. The same goes for my friends Lori, Rae, Erika, Melissa L and my sweet Ben as well as Melody Gardot and Wayne Elsey and most recently the people in Haiti that we are seeing suddenly worshiping and praising God on the beaches and out in the open air among others. We've all had foreign objects implanted into us by the master of all pearl farmers....our choice is are we going to reject them, let them kill us or truly embrace them and let them be harvested into the glorious pearls they were intended to become all along?
Sadly I know many people who have led lives FILLED with objects of irritation and pain and instead of embracing the potential pearl they just lay flopped open like an open oyster whining and complaining about how bad it is or trying to gain bragging rights about how big and horrible THEIR piece of sand is. They have rejected the pearls that could have been because their too busy with the irritant.
So start harvesting your pearls! Who knows what beautiful creations may be made out of them when all is said and done!