Parasite or Pearl
When we go through hardships in life, it is easy to feel broken or battered. Sometimes it is difficult to see any possible benefit from the hardship, especially when struggles seem to follow one after the other. But our difficulties help us create pearls from our lives – pearls of both wisdom and beauty.
Consider how a pearl is formed in an oyster or mollusk. It is from a parasite that presents itself within the oyster – an irritant that the oyster must protect itself from. By protecting itself from the parasite or irritant, by forming a barrier around it, the pearl is made…beauty comes from within the oyster, and from what was previously just a parasite.
If we apply this to our lives, we can more easily understand and appreciate our own hardships. We are the oyster. We are given irritants in order to bring out our gifts of beauty to the world. Our hardships allow us to create magnificent works of art from our lives. Without the parasite, the oyster would still leave a lovely, even if more ordinary, shell behind; but with the irritant, it produces a rare and wonderful jewel for the world. Our irritants help us produce pearls that enhance the beauty of the world.
One thing that stands out to me, beyond the usual pearl analogy, is that the oyster must protect itself from the parasite. It cannot just live with it as is and produce a pearl, but must form a barrier to protect itself from the harm that might be done by the irritant. In forming that protective barrier of calcium carbonate, the oyster produces the beautiful pearl. If it had not protected itself, it would become diseased and die.
We sometimes feel guilty for shutting out the parasites or irritants that surround us, those situations or persons that attach to us and hold us back, causing us dis-ease. But each such obstacle allows us to produce a work of art if we protect ourselves from it, and essentially shut it out from harming us. We should not feel guilt for creating barriers of protection in our lives. Our purpose is to create beauty through love and through finding our gifts and using them. If irritants attach themselves, it is also our responsibility to shield ourselves from their harm. When another has introduced friction or situations that can hurt us, we must protect in love, not attack. Like the oyster, if we simply isolate the parasite in such a way that it can no longer harm us, we are forming pearls in our lives, we are using the abilities and gifts that God gave us in a way that brings beauty. We are not only helping our own situation, but we are turning a parasite, an irritant, into a work of art. We help ourselves, and we transform another to a state of beauty.
Find ways to peacefully and lovingly address the irritants in your life, things that you might only have seen as parasites or difficulties that you were burdened with. Consider that each is an opportunity to build a pearl, if you will only see it as such and quietly, peacefully shield yourself from its harm. Create the pearl through embracing your hardships, through seeing them as gifts, as foundation for your unique work of art that will contribute breathtaking beauty in the world. By seeing in this way, you can release yourself from being a victim and understand that you have everything you need within you. You can be grateful for your hardships, realizing that they are gifts – and that realization is the greatest gift of all, if you choose to be like the oyster and turn them into pearls, or accept that opportunity.
Hold this thought close in your heart when you encounter the struggles that life brings. You already have what you need to transform them into pearls.