Pearls are formed inside the shell of certain mollusks as a defense against a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside its shell, or an attack from outside. The mollusk creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation. This sac is made by the mollusk secreting a nacreous liquid that surrounds the irritant until it eventually becomes a pearl. In other words, what begins as an annoying irritant eventually becomes a valuable treasure. The same is true in life.
Life can be so irritating. More often than not, it is the little things that annoy me the most. Things like, the lost set of keys, the misplaced cell phone, the empty orange juice carton placed back in the refrigerator. But then there are times when people are the problem. They show up uninvited or call when I am running out the door, already late for an appointment that I really don’t have time to keep.
I am convinced that these tiny irritations are a tool to rub off some of our rough edges. For it is in these times it is most important that we maintain a positive attitude. Maintaining a positive attitude requires you to broaden your perspective and suspend judgment. Your attitude is directly related to your perception and interpretation of events. It is important to recognize that all of our experiences – especially the most difficult and most irritating ones – offer seeds of opportunity and growth.
Sometimes these seeds are subtle and hard to find, but they are always there. Have you ever had a situation that at the time you thought was terrible, only later to find out that it was one of the best things that ever happened to you? While it is good to have this realization after the fact, the key is to have this understanding at the time of the event. In these moments it is important to remember that there will be something good that will come – even if you can’t see it right then. You simply must trust that with time you can find the positives and/or opportunities that come from the experience.
Trying times can either break us or make us. Those broken are haunted by unpleasant memories. These memories are like shadows that lurk in front, behind, beside, beneath and above. It is also a cage that traps the mind, preventing it from entertaining possibilities of triumph and success. Those that are broken are convinced that they will not succeed therefore, they will not try.
For those of us that failure could not and will not break, failure is not a ghost, but a friend who has taught and continues to teach us well. It is also a stepping stone to wisdom. We are convinced that true failure only happens when one gives up.
Looking back, I can honestly say that the greatest treasures in my life have been discovered during the darkest times of my life. A divorce stripped away years of fear and doubt, and insecurity leaving me confident and fearless. The possibility of losing the only job I had ever had my entire adult life, prompted me to start my own business. A trying economy has reminded me of who truly holds my future. Over the years, weaknesses have given way to strengths and failures have led to successes.
I am reminded by the pearl that a mess is the perfect setting for a miracle. A sliver of hope and a seed of victory are buried at the center of every problem and in every trial or difficult moment of life, there is a buried treasure. When the tough times come, just look for the pearls.