Knots: They show up in myriad ways.
Accusations. Crippling rhetoric. Foundations, seemingly crumbling.
And then, my own vengeful thoughts, silting over with toxic sludge. I read the news and frustration stifles compassion.
Grief as well as grievance chafe. The combined grit penetrates my protective shell.
Where, oh where are the pearls of wisdom?
the sandbar rose
like a tableland catching
the light — a rough altar
under the water, framed
by acres of menacing
ever more westward,
awash in the current.
Only once did I find shells on that sandbar: enclosed emblems of mystery. To a kid raised on fairy tales, shells meant pearls. And pearls meant CA$H!
Daydreams ensued. Then died.
Shells, by one definition, are empty things.
Human opinion may likewise hinge on mere wish. Trying to fathom our shifting culture my hopes falter, emptied by doubt. Or stymied by fear. Clear reasoning gives way to knots.
Knots, however, by one definition, attest to worth.
Unlike artificial pearls, the real ones are fragile, so jewelers painstakingly knot them, individually, on a strand of silk. This way they don’t abrade each other, growing dull or partially crumbling to powder.
If the thread breaks, a single bead drops away, leaving its neighbors intact.
guards the precious
via the strategic twist.
What if knots are a form of grace?
“[Christ] is before all things,” Paul wrote, “and in him all things hold together.” No matter how different they are.
Bona fide pearls also vary, in shape and color. And, like enduring belief, the imperfect gems epitomize patience. Boundaries imposed from within produce an eventual radiance.
Did you know that the knots lovingly tied between pearls were once reliable proof that the gems were authentic?
Unfortunately, these days wily vendors intersperse knots among fakes. A small test exposes the sham. Genuine pearls, slightly sandy in texture, sound different when rubbed together.
Oh, for a thought life that sounds different — one that resonates with love.
No mental wallowing in toxic sludge. Tenderly hemmed in by faith’s small protective ties, we can, if we choose, embody God’s strategic wisdom.
Yes, divisive thoughts still surface. But author Brennan Manning heartens me as he bemoans his failures to effect lasting personal change:
“Intellectually I was constantly trying
to think myself into a new way of living
instead of loving myself
into a new way of thinking.”
Might he mean, in part, that trusting the knots God lovingly ties around us will, ultimately, reveal a more luminous authenticity?
Little by little, I’m seeing how our Maker pinpoints the various bits that carry a shine, then lovingly arranges them, showing me, the pearl-dreamer-kid still hopeful within — showing us all if we care to pause — how to connect the dots . . .
Any recent Shine Sightings at your place? I’d love to hear about it . . .
Simple tests to identify real pearls
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Grace: in media res: (in the middle of things)
Key on Ribbon Photo by Robert Gramner on Unsplash
Bits of Shine Photo by Jodie Walton on Unsplash