TITLE: Stringing Pearls
By Theresa Kissinger
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I was given a set of pearls when my mother died which belonged to her mother. When they came to me, they were in a long white box and on the lid was the name Hoschild Kohn. I’m sure it was the original box all of my Grandmother’s things were stored in tissue paper and original containers. I have fond memories of the meticulous ways she would store things.
I never had a set of pearls of my own but I admired them on the graceful neck of others. I felt pleased to have inherited these, especially a set with such a rich history. As I opened my legacy, I noticed the box had yellowed with age and when I pulled out the pearls, they had yellowed just like the box. “How sad”, I thought, I would probably never get to wear these pearls just as my mother had never worn them.
My recall stirred up another set of pearls I gave them as a gift to my niece for her graduation. Actually, it was one pearl on a sterling silver chain but it could be added on to as the occasion arose. I liked the idea it afforded me the ability to give something nice and of some worth but to be able to build on the gift, one pearl at a time.
That is when it struck me that I too was given an “add a pearl” necklace, by my own Father, my Heavenly Father. It has taken a long time to realize that I had this special strand of pearls, maybe because I was too immature to appreciate them. Maybe I was too busy looking at what I’d lost to see what gifts I had received. Could it be that like the time it takes to form the pearl I needed to develop character? The time it takes cultivating an inner beauty that would showcase a perfect strand of pearls.
These are the pearls of wisdom that have been strung in my life, formed by the layers of irritants covered by virtues and strung by the hand of God.
Sister Marie Edwin, she pulled me into her blacked winged embrace like a hen and chick. A pajama party in the convent and enough special moments to ease the sting of rejection
Mrs. Greer....Ivy, entwined moments of peace and comfort around my life. She taught me to sew doll clothes, to crochet and embroider, she trusted me to pull the weeds from her flower beds and trusted me again when I pulled all the wrong things...she gave me the pearl of quiet patience.
Michelle brought picnics and singing, French cooking lessons, painting and my best friend Beatrice. They taught me tolerance when the differences are many.
We moved and Mildred was waiting for me. She gave a lonely girl a sense of family. I learned to iron a dress shirt. I learned how to keep a marriage safe and real without spite and bitterness. I was given the pearl of forgiveness. Because of her I was gifted the Pearl of Great Price.
There have been other pearls......Martha and Clara my sweet grandmothers, they taught diligence. They taught me how to pray, one with a rosary and one walking under heavens canopy, they gave me the pearl of peace.
Lula Mae brought a pearl of acceptance on my wedding day which I now pass on to my daughter in law.
Pearls of friendship; Pat covered my greatest shortcoming with love.
Deb uncovered my complacency and inconsistencies, like pulling back the blanket on an errant child. We shared the pearl of understanding.
Pearls of wisdom strung on the grace of God never intended to sit in a box to yellow but to be given away like they were given to me.
The pearls formed in my life are now strung for my children, friends, and sometimes given to strangers I’ve met along the way.
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