Monday, January 26, 2009

The Pearl-Beautiful Pain

Some of you may know and others not, that I am a SINGLE mom.

This was not the plan when I got married in 1996. Right after graduating with my Masters Degree and weeks after turning 30 years old, I was married in a wonderful ceremony in Tallahassee, Florida.

Part of the vows, in addition to the norm, was a line that said this. "I promise to be your best friend and to make you laugh for the rest of your life." As with any person getting married, it is that feeling of love, a sense of we, a start to a beginning of a life of dreams, hopes and goals.

Friends still say, "It was the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended." And it was beautiful.

Outside on the deep green grass of an October day in Florida. A string quartet playing as I rode up the long drive of a garden home in a horse drawn carriage, with large magnolias and the long moss of the deep South making natural decoration.

The wedding went off perfectly...the marriage; not so much.

We know that, with any relationship, it takes deep faith to work through impossible times and it takes growth, compassion, compromise; and did I say intense growth? Growth in the same direction. Growth that involves sharing everything, good, bad and beautiful to create and build that promised friendship and laughter.

It takes more than two people to make a marriage flourish. Mathematically speaking, the equation looks like this: 1+1=infinity

I believe that the combination of two or more things can create something so much more powerful than if done with only one. The combination of two people who are fully aware, committed and ready to have intense growth will have amazing results.

If there are any other ingredients added or removed from the relationship recipe, the beautiful recipe will fail. The sweetest intent cannot make the dessert be sweet. The sweetest notes, flowers, gifts, and other tokens will not make the friendship flourish.

For me, it has been the creation of a pearl. Dare I say, a string of pearls.

The lesson of the pearl is something I learned just recently. Not that I had not heard it before, but I really learned it, understood it, and put it in perspective. Becoming a pearl is beautiful pain. Becoming a pearl is intensity of the highest level.

A small grain of sand gets inside of an oyster, who by nature is relatively still. It filters water, small food sources and the inevitable sand to nourish it, keep it alive and growing. At times the sand gets stuck; it becomes an irritant. To stay alive, the oyster builds a little shell around the sand to make it less painful. Over time, the oyster creates layers upon layers of protectant around that one small grain of sand; a pearl is born.

The pearl, a beautiful, iridescent, perfect, coveted jewel that we string together and wear as adornment. And yet, each of those one pearls was created by one small grain of very painful sand. Strung together those grains of sand become something bigger than one or even two oysters can handle; they will eventually die.

Just as in any relationship, a friendship or marriage, there can be that one small grain of sand; the painful irritant that can become a beautiful pearl or the death of the relationship.

A trusted friend said this. "Every day, give thanks for the pearl. Painful, and yet you are more beautiful for having had it in your life."

Thank you, pearl. You have taught me that the most intense growth comes over years of one small irritant, one small diversion from the relationship recipe, leaving out the"laugh for the rest of your life", and a slight deviation from the mathematical equation of infinity.

Thank you for allowing me the painful growth I needed to become more me.
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