Focusing on Changes that Heal
Life happens, doesn’t it?
Bad things happen to good people, and many times there is no comprehension to the questions of Why God? and How could you let this happen to me? Despite our best efforts at avoiding pain, we invariably come across something that wounds us deeply and we feel we may never be the same again.
When we go through these places in life, where the water runs deep and the wave’s crash incessantly against the protective barriers of our lives, threatening our existence and even turning our world upside down; we learn to ride out these storms by clinging and praying to something that is stronger than we are. But these holds in life are usually temporary at best, and will often comfort us when life crashes in on us.
What many of us don’t know is that God the Creator, used nature itself to illustrate the purpose behind our pain, when what we cling to fails us. While we may never find all the answers to this side of eternity, we can see the purpose it has in our lives that can be used for eternity, if we but let Him.
Today, last week, or a year ago, we find ourselves becoming trapped in the old, but familiar sad feelings of the event that happened in our lives recently. We don’t know how to make sense of any of it and we certainly don’t pretend to understand why this very thing happened to us!
Your marriage died, your lost your spouse to chronic illness, your best friend wrote you off, you lost the best job you ever had, and your mate spontaneously quit his job, right in the middle of finishing a remodel of your home in preparation to bringing your elder parents to your place to live out their lives!
We don’t always see the big picture that is being shaped to become the tapestry of our lives, nor do we understand why our story has to contain these bumps and turns that sever us from those we love or damage the trust and virtues of relationships we hold dear.
We also don’t understand how we got to this place, or why we choose to take roads that end up in bitter agony and fruitlessness, even when we knew better. How can anything good come from all of our failings, disappointments, hopes, dreams, broken relationships?
Can I share a story with you borrowed from nature, to offer you hope in these darker moments of uncertainty and self-doubt?
Deep down in the water, buried in the sand far below the surface of the crashing waves, are hard-shelled mollusks (oyster clams) who struggle for cover and safety when the storm on the surface is raging. They anchor themselves into the burrows of the sand and hold onto as their world while violently being tossed about. As they are plunged deeper into the sand by the action of the waves, tiny grains of sand are stirred up and swirled around the exterior of the mollusk’s protective outer shell.
When the winds and waves die down, the mollusk opens his mouth to feed on tiny microorganisms and plankton that are stirred up from the seafloor. As the mollusk feeds on the organisms floating by, it is unaware that along with the supply of nourishing food, there are tiny imperceptible grains of sand coated in the food mix, which will later become lodged in his tender, membrane tissue as it eats.
Unfortunately, these sand grains are unable to digest naturally in its tiny system and while the food particles are absorbed, the grainy invaders are filtered out of the food and deposited into the sensitive tissue of the mollusk. As you can see, it wasn’t created to digest these hard particles, but then again, “sand happens” in life, doesn’t it?
During the course of months and years, the collection of sand grains continues to build up and eventually becomes embedded into the sensitive membranes of the mollusk. Over time, what was once just an irritating nuisance or byproduct of feeding has now become a raging, festering abscessed wound and all efforts to rid and filter the sand products from the mollusk’s interior are met futility.
In response to the raw, chafing, throbbing irritation now being caused by the build-up of the grains of sand in the soft tissue of the mollusk, a lubricating ointment is triggered and released from its interior walls to coat and soothe the sore, sensitive, excruciating spot where the sand has embedded and taken up residence, within the softest most vulnerable part of the mollusk. This “salve” acts as a form of natural medication when injected several times a day by the mollusk over the wound.
Daily, more and more warm salve is deposited over the wound in an effort to soothe the pain. With the passing of time, this intruder attaches itself to the tissue of the mollusk, and drains and depletes the chemical life support needed by the mollusk to nourish its continued growth.
All the energies of the mollusk are now over-focused on getting rid of this foreigner and the pain this intrusion has caused in its little body. Interestingly enough, this self-style healing procedure just merely numbs the throbbing pain temporarily and accomplishes nothing to dislodge the interloper’s presence from the mollusk, while sucking the life force from the sea creature without its knowledge or consent.
The continuous cycle of medicating the growing, festering wound requires more and more of the salve which in turn creates layers of calcification over the raw irritated membranes, in order to ease the pain. During this time, all of the mollusk’s energies have focused on healing the raw wound, even to the exclusion of seeking out nourishment and food sources.
As the mollusk learns to accommodate this unwelcome trespasser and live with the dulling pain, it eventually turns its attention to feeding once again. Eventually, the mollusk begins to lose strength in its ebbing life cycle, however, unbeknownst to the mollusk, a symbol of its life struggle and pain is beginning to emerge and take shape within the interior cavern of the mollusk. For out of the dying oyster clamshell, a treasure of immense value is being created and fashioned into existence through the entire, excruciating struggle. A gift is born which becomes the symbol of this unrelenting process, and this gift could not be brought forth or made in any other way.
From the outside, this mollusk appears to be just a rough, nondescript, and salt-encrusted seashell that is made for tossing back and forth, as it skips across the waves. There is no evidence of the tempest it has been through before it was pushed by the tides to shore. The same sand that temporarily sheltered the oyster clamshell during the raging and violent storms, and stirred up food to feed upon, became the source that birthed a new and valuable jewel.
We call it a PEARL, meaning the gift of the sea and born of great price.
At Mariah Ministries, our logo is the Oyster Clam Shell which represents the story of how the Creator takes the bad and unexpected things in our lives and turns them into something new and of great value.
Below our shell is a small logo inscription that many folks miss when they first start their therapy at the Center, but later “get it” when they finish their work with our trained Therapists.
See if you can spot it, and remember our “pearls of great price” will only be of value, when we allow Him complete access to our lives, and in full surrender to the work He wants to do in and through us by focusing on changes that heal.