An unblemished pearl is one of the most ancient symbols of perfection, used as a form of adornment for thousands of year. But how do they come into existence? By accident, a foreign object gets into the pearl shell. The animal who lives there (Mr Pinctada) puts a layer of nacre around it to smooth it out, get rid of the irritation and stop the pain!
Of course, these days we are too impatient to wait for these accidents to happen randomly and use trial and error to find them. So, in the 13th Century, the Chinese worked out how to cultivate them by opening the mussels’ shell and inserting small pellets, waiting 3 years to harvest the mature pearl. The only problem was that all too often the pearl stuck to the wall of the shell. It was the Japanese in the latter years of the 19th Century, who perfected the process, using small pieces of mother of pearl to initiate the growth of the pearl. Mr Mikimoto made a fortune out of it!
What are you doing with the irritations which come into your life? Are you able to make something beautiful out of them? We might now know whether they are accidental or intentional, but with God’s help, we can grow through those painful experiences and become priceless in the process.
Chaplain Ian Whitley