When I first said, “the world is your oyster,” it sounded pretty good, right? Like all these gorgeous pearls would just be coming your way and you’d be living on so-called easy street. But the saga of the oyster and the pearl is more complicated than it first appears. The pearl only happens when sand gets inside an oyster and irritates it. –All quotes in bold by Annie Kagan, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers
Oysters that make pearls are God’s way of showing us why we have difficulties in our lives. It is only by facing the irritants of life and creatively overcoming hardships that we, like pearls, can grow. We value pearls for their exquisite beauty.
Although it’s true that God’s love shines down unconditionally upon each and every Soul, whether It is ready to serve the Creator or not, we become valuable as co-workers with God once we have learned to overcome obstacles. That is because we can only identify and empathize with others who are going through pain after we have experienced it for ourselves. Our service to God is our service to Life, whether it is other people, other animals, or the natural environment.
Yes, I know the irritation doesn’t feel good, but without it there would be no pearl. Don’t focus too much on the irritation. Try to relax about the sand. If you deal with the sand creatively, you’ll have a gorgeous treasure.
And what treasure is this? What we are left with after dealing with the “sand” is qualities that we have had to call upon and manifest in order to solve our problems. One situation forces us to manifest patience. Another situation calls for humility. A third situation requires us to make do with limited resources. Still other situations may call for perseverance, mercy, balance, focus, or discernment. When we manifest and hone these qualities within ourselves, they become part of who we are, part of our energy signature as Soul. And we get to keep them when we transition from our earthly lives to our life in heaven. These are our treasures.
To be a pearl maker, your oyster needs a good strong shell to protect you from a hundred million irritants in your environment. Your shell helps you tell one grain of sand from the other. You know which one can become a pearl and which one isn’t worth the irritation.
How can we tell one grain of sand from the other? Many people, at the end of their lives, say that they wish they had spent more time with their kids, rather than working overtime for a boss who was never satisfied. Some wish that they’d spent more time picking flowers and less time cleaning house. Others wish they’d said something about a situation that wasn’t right. Some wish that they’d made more of an effort to get along with their parents, their siblings, their spouse, or their kids. Others wish they had taken more chances or expressed their love more often to those around them. Think about your life right now. What’s worth fighting over? What’s worth worrying about? What’s worth doing well? What’s worth standing up for? What’s worth spending time on? What’s worth spending money on? What’s worth doing over until you get it right? What’s worth thinking over very carefully? What’s worth grabbing the first time around?
Oh, there’s that sand again. This always happens when I take a big bite out of the ocean. I’ll spit most of it out and won’t be too concerned about the rest.
Most things aren’t worth being angry over or worrying about. Here’s a small example. I once made a long-distance road trip to visit friends and stopped for gas. I filled my tank, then went inside to pay for the gas in cash. When I got back inside the car, I noticed that one shoelace was loose, and it bothered me, so I opened the door, put my feet on the ground, and leaned over to tie my shoe. Suddenly, I became aware that this young man who had been filling his truck with gas from the pump directly behind mine was getting angry that I was keeping him waiting. There was plenty of room for him to go around me – nothing was keeping him from going around. But for some reason, he didn’t see that, and he began to yell and scream at me. I calmly finished tying my shoe, closed the door, buckled my seat belt and started the car. By this time, the young man was fuming, and he burned a little rubber as he finally drove around me.
Why did he have to get angry first? Couldn’t he have just driven around me in the first place? Of course, he couldn’t, but in his world of “shoulds,” I should have driven away so that he could just go straight out behind me. He was so angry that I didn’t do what he wanted. I’m sure he must have raised his blood pressure some. But what was it all for? He ended going around me, anyway. A great many people are like this. They figure that a given situation should go one way – their way – and when it doesn’t, they get their nose bent out of shape or their knickers in a knot, all for nothing, most of the time, since their anger doesn’t change the situation. It only serves to make them miserable and keep them from seeing another option that might solve the problem.
And why don’t you have to be too concerned? Have you looked inside an oyster lately? It’s soft, fertile, and unformed. The inside of your oyster is your creative spark, your pearl-making laboratory. Smart people work in laboratories, right? Well, since you are the Universe, your laboratory is run by none other than the Universal Intelligence.
The same intelligence that grows trees from seeds, that lets birds fly, that waves the ocean and gives birth to new stars – that same Intelligence also breathes your breath, beats your heart, and heals your wounds.
The oyster is soft, unformed. Not hard, not brittle. People who have all kinds of ideas of how the world “should” be are hard and unyielding. Those who are adaptable and able to roll with the punches are the survivors, the ones who use their creativity to think out of the box, and to reach out for solutions that may never have been tried before. The idea is to be able to surrender to a situation, not in a defeatist way, but in a way that recognizes that perhaps things were meant to be the way they are for a reason, to give us an opportunity to acquire new skills and to call upon and polish to a shine the positive qualities that will make us better able to serve the Creator. 🙂