I've loved this metaphor for years. It's the simple reminder that a pearl is made when a bit of sand gets inside the shell of an oyster. To protect itself from that irritant the oyster continually surrounds it with a translucent coating. This simple process repeats itself over and over until a beautiful pearl forms.
The emotional irritants that get into our vulnerable places can also produce lustrous benefits. A person struggling with the constant downward pull of addiction goes to numerous 12-step meetings and slowly grows into a trustworthy and compassionate person. Another person grapples with the pain that bad things happen to good people and in doing so constructs a life of great and abiding faith. Someone else is neglected by parents as a child and lives out a commitment to be an involved and loving parent.
Difficult, painful beginnings can result in glorious and priceless outcomes. This simple fact can be a source of great hope and celebration to anyone struggling in a time of personal crisis or discouragement.
Atlanta psychotherapist Bill Herring helps individuals and couples harvest pearls.