Love is a pearl.
Other nice words too: friendship, loyalty, good intentions and sincerity, patience, and second chances beyond the count.
Unselfishness is a pearl. By the act we acknowledge equality; by the best of the act we offer the last slice…even still hungry.
Time is a pearl. We only have so much, moments or minutes, days or decades, it gets went ‘n spent.
Sometimes Our Pearls Get Trampled
Sickness ‘n health, and better ‘r worse, sacred vows, and you meant them…
It’s mother love, in the bad years, when the kid is barely likable.
It feels powerful, like a gift, but you’re the only one in the family, only one in the school, only one you know, and not knowing how to file you, They label it Weird.
It’s being good, but not good enough. It’s being nice, and finishing last.
Right There In The Red Letters
Jesus spoke in sound bites. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” pretty much takes the meat off that bone. Parables, parables, but only one Sermon…on the Mount…where He throws out the Pearls Before Swine line…
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”
I knew the words, at 10 and 15, but only as words. They came to life with a betrayal in early adulthood. I was who I was back then, and it hurt how it hurt. One of the tangible memories was thinking that I had “wasted my best stuff” on someone undeserving. My sincerity, my idealism, the last of my childish innocence…ah…that’s what He meant, those were my pearls, and I’d cast them before swine. It was all loss: the pearls were gone, and they hadn’t even been appreciated.
Maybe Not So Gone
Somehow, duct tape and Elmer’s glue, healing happens. Turns out, the pearls were not gone. The pearls are in me, of me, are me, a specific gift from God, a fragile yolk in a pig proof eggshell. Like the body replaces blood, so I replaced my pearls.
I was not done with casting new pearls before new swine. Turns out…hey, that’s life! When it goes wrong, it stings a little, but it’s a Band-Aid instead of ICU.
The Second Level
Level one, you’re the victim with the pearls, and “They” are the swine.
Level two, which is quite the light bulb moment, is realizing that everybody is the swine, including yourself.
My stove top only has four burners. If you’re the fifth pot, you’re in the wrong kitchen.
That old two-kinds-of-people thing: I am a Word guy, not a Numbers guy. You can audition your Big Bang Theory smarts, but it’s an IQ pearl before a swine. I don’t have the wiring to truly appreciate engineers, algebra teachers, architects, Newton or Einstein, or people who do math in their head.
Being male, I’m limited in appreciating the subtleties of females. Being a First World American, I can’t empathize with a Third World famine. Being of my generation, I’m too of-my-times to appreciate what younger generations add now, and will later.
Nothing makes us appreciate our parents more than reaching a higher rung on the life ladder, and going, “Oh, now I see…” While my parents were alive I threw them the occasional bone, recalling something I took for granted, and now realized was a sacrifice, and saying Thanks, as best I could, with what little insight I had.
Now they’re gone, and up the ladder I keep going, and O The Times, when new insights come, and I wish the chance, to say Thanks with more facts, Thanks with more get-it, but they’re horizontal now, their pearls all spent, so many “cast” upon me, in the swine-ness of my clueless youth.
Once upon a time…I was in one of those pearls-before-swine moments…and for the first time, it crossed my mind, “ooooh, so this is how God feels…”
Pearls He gave, beginning with life, and something to live it with.
We stray, we squander, we aim for wrong targets, and for advice, it’s friends first, prayer later.
And then there is the pearl of great price – Grace – a bath of forgiveness, the water never dirtying, and yet, day after day, we turn dirt into mud.
As I was unable to appreciate my parents in my childhood, so I assume that I am unable to appreciate God in my lifetime. What if, I wonder, at the moment of death, loved ones watching our pale crusts, not knowing that on the inside, at soul level, there is a great and beautiful revelation, the ultimate Aha! moment, where all things are spiritual, no longer riddles, but certainties, one of them being that It All Came Together To Make A Pearl…
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Story is brought to you by Eighty-one, where we believe that no pearls are trampled in heaven.
Other Bedtime Stories can be found on the Eighty-one Facebook page. Uncle P can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.