Sunday, September 30, 2007

Precious pearls

While reading the paper this morning I came across an interesting book review about a new book, Watercolored Pearls, written by a local author, Stacy Hawkins Adams. The storyline seemed interesting enough, but what really resonated with me was the explanation of how the book got it's title.

According to the review, the three lead women characters are each given a gift of pearls by an older friend, who explains that a grain of sand or other irritant invades an oyster, which in turn coats the irritant with a substance (nacra) which eventually hardens and protects the oyster from the irritant. "This is a metaphor for female lives, she explains, in which painful challenges make women stronger and more beautiful."
That passage reminded of the dozens of women I've made prayer shawls for and the countless others I've met through this ministry. As with natural pearls, these beautiful women represent different colors, ages, backgrounds, and professions. Yet they all share a common thread. In one way or another, each have suffered and survived trauma of one type or another at the hands of a stranger, friend, family member or loved one. As horrific as their pain may have been, what matters at the end of the day is the miraculous ways that these women have gone on with their lives in spite of their pasts.
Like precious pearls, our suffering has made us stronger.

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