Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Pearls: Things of Beauty Born Out Of Irritation
In 1993, Cora and I decided that we wanted a new last name. Somehow, the names we grew up with were not fitting anymore and we wanted everyone in our family to have a shared family name. We searched for a name that was both meaningful to us and related to our family history (Pearl comes from my great-grandfather's last name and was Cora's great-grandmother's first name.) This decision was one of many endeavors of balls out creativity and self-determination that has characterized our marriage and life together as a family. Each day the name becomes even more relevant to my life experience.
This photo is a rock pearl sculpture made by Eli while we were in Yellowstone.
He found a little translucent stone and put it between two halves of a rock that had a perfect break in the middle. Isaac and I shined a flashlight on it after the sun went down and snapped a few photos of Eli Pearl's pearl.
As I was admiring Eli's vision and resourcefulness, I couldn't help but think about how fitting the name Pearl is for our family. A pearl starts as a microscopic piece of sand that is trapped inside an oyster, creating a discomfort and an irritation. From this rub, the oyster creates a gem.
Although this trip has led to a lot of fun and adventure, much of this family odyssey grew out of irritation and discomfort.
We needed change. We were no longer feeling "at home" in our house. I was no longer feeling creative forward motion in my studio. Some friendships and family relationships were beginning to feel strained.
So we decided to start again--getting rid of many material belongings and stirring up change.
It has been a beautiful journey so far, but the rub of feeling misplaced is well within reach of my memory. I remember this irritation daily and appreciate its role in creating forward motion-- especially when it's time to create beauty out of a new irritation--when I hear kids fighting in the back seat or somebody got too tired or hungry while driving for too many hours or one of us feels stressed out about the uncertainty of where we will end up living. I look to these momentary irritations to provide us with the bit of sand that we can grow and polish into a gem.
When we took on the name Pearl, about 16 years ago, we were saying 'yes' to this aspect of nature that creates beauty out of irritation. We decided to take the irritation of our pasts (of which there will always be an abundance) and create beauty out of it.
May we continue to find that clarity as our travels progress.