A Pearl is the Fruit of a Frustrated Oyster
The Pearl is a beautiful, sought after and cherished gem amongst many people around the world. It’s the natural result of years of pain and frustration endured by the creature that created it…. the oyster. In it as itself, not a beautiful being, but clearly capable of creating extraordinary things.
Our family was recently on a trip to Palm Springs to visit family and on the Sunday, we joined along to attend Sunday Church which is always a great experience of positive music, community and a Pastor who you can count on to deliver a powerful message to the attendees of the day.
This Sunday was no different. There was talk of challenge, of struggle, of conflict and on the other side there was talk of achievement, of connection and of triumph. Interesting in how he spoke of the two opposing forces needing each other as we are always in the pull between Character and Conflict and how through challenge, both are worked on equally.
So, what does this mean? Have you ever found yourself frustrated in the process of working towards a goal and decided that the goal isn’t worth the struggle and frustration to attain it? That we told ourselves, “it’s not worth it”, “this will never work”, “everyone is against me”, “it is what it is”, “I’m not good enough”….I’m sure you can fill in a few more blanks yourself as we ALL run this internal dialogue continuously throughout our lives.
Both Kari-Lyn and I have experienced these moments continuously throughout our 28+ years together and we anticipate that there are many more moments to come. So, if we know that these moments are “normal” and an important part of the process in reaching our goals, in fact, critical according to the lesson we heard during that pastor’s sermon as “we can’t build our character without working through conflict.”
Did you receive that? “You can’t build your character without working through conflict.” Most people feel the friction of conflict and pull back. We can feel the resistance and create the external excuses as to why the things we dream about are not possible for us. That’s the easy track…but by far the hardest track because most often it leaves us with a feeling in the pit of our stomach of unfulfillment and unworthiness as opposed to fulfilled, on purpose and abundant. That’s where the lifetime of pain can come from, and because that pain can continuously be reinforced by maintaining the same actions when conflict or resistance arises, all levels of stress, the feeling of “lack of” and chronic sickness can appear in your life.
To this point, we love to share with our kids and anyone else who will listen, the famed Les Brown famous quote about life.
“If you choose the easy road, your life will be hard. If you choose the hard road, your life will be easy”
If I reflect back on our lives, we have had so many epic failures, challenges, and struggles but on the flip side, we live a lifestyle that we used to only dream of because we continuously commit to move through the conflict with the faith that the reward on the other side far outweighs the pain of the process.
What would your freedom of time and finances look like for you and your family? What are you willing to endure for the things you value the most? Do you have the faith that everything you want in life is available to you?
You see, to use a common cliché but a truth…people see the “glory” but never see the “story” of how successful people create the lives they do. We walk past dream houses and wonder…”I wonder what they do for a living?”, or see fancy cars and ask the same thing. See people on FaceBook and Instagram travelling the world and having fun without a lot of mention of the 9-5 J.O.B. But underneath all of these successes, there are far more struggles and frustrations that are dealt with out of plain sight. The struggle is real. It’s necessary. The obstacles or “conflicts” that appear in front of us in our lives are not our reasons why we can’t do something, but represent a fundamental step to growing our character to become the people we need to be to accomplish the very things we dream of and strive for.
“The bigger the obstacle, the bigger the breakthrough.”
So, what about this oyster we started this conversation with? How is that a seemingly common oyster creates an iridescent gem?
You see, the process starts with irritation, perhaps a grain of sand for example. With the oyster going about its daily business of filtering for food, a grain of sand niggles it’s way between its shells and takes refuge. Pretty easy at this point for the oyster to play the victim.
“I deserve better”
“Why do I have such bad luck?”
Surely this annoying grain of sand could take itself somewhere else. So, here is the contrast in my mind. Without the devises to ignore or remove this irritation, the oyster takes immediate action to deal with it head on. The oyster quickly begins covering the uninvited visitor with layers of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, coat the sand until the beautiful iridescent pearl is formed.
Pearls in the largest and smoothest forms are considered most valuable and subsequently take the longest to create. How long? Up to 20 years to create something this extraordinary.
5-20 years of irritation and struggle to create something truly extraordinary?
Is the endurance of these times worth it?
We believe it because again the conflicts or obstacles are always going to be there in our lives. We see them as a personal test to see how badly we really want what we are working towards. So, we either deal with them up front and work to grow and move through them…or we endure and ignore the irritation ongoing with hopes that it will just magically get better. I can attest I have never experienced any obstacle magically disappearing as a result of me ignoring it.
My take away….the pearl is the fruit of a frustrated oyster. Just like in our lives, our successes show up only as a result of enduring years of trials and tribulations. This has been one of our biggest learns in life.
And here is another one. It’s so easy to look at someone else’s end result and believe it must have all been so easy. It’s just not true and if you take away just one thing from this message, it’s this: success is available to everyone. When we embrace our obstacles and conflicts and work through them day by day, year by year…. just like the oyster, we take steps towards building the character required for us to create the lives we dream of.
Wishing you a life full of pearls.