arbitrary stuff that comes to mind: whenever I feel like thinking aloud

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Pearl as a Symbol of Commitment

 There is a story told, probably apocryphal, about a wealthy couple, their wedding day and his wedding gift of natural black pearls to her. On the eve of the wedding, she caught him kissing one of the servant girls. Angry with him, but not angry enough to lose her love, they went ahead with the wedding, but she refused to wear the pearls. Instead, she left them unopened in their box, and there they lay for the 70 years of their marriage. The family of course knew about the famous pearls which were said to be both beautiful and extremely valuable.
 Thus it was with some considerable interest that the family gathered at the reading of the will to see them brought to the light of day for the first time. The box was opened: the flannel cover unwrapped and there was revealed ~ a small pile of dust. With no one to care for them, they simply disintegrated away.

The Pearl and Commitment and this little anecdote
What does this little story says to us? And why am I telling it?
A pearl is not like any other jewel. It is not a hard and cold crystalline mineral or piece of rock. You could say it remains alive, and it needs love and care throughout its lifetime. This is why it has so often been a symbol of love.
The gift of the pearl holds within it a message of commitment.

From the past to the Present to the Future
Ten years ago my good friends Niranjan and Nimi brought into the world a little baby girl: Nimesha.
Now she stands on the threshold of a Commitment: On Sunday the 7
th of November she takes her confirmation vows.
And since Religion is itself a deep commitment, a commitment of faith in the face of a disbelieving world, this is the gift I have chosen for her ~a little string of freshwater pearls, and a locket.
Here is a note that I wrote her: maybe it says something to you too.

Nimesha's letter
Dear Nimesha,
Today is your confirmation, the day that you confirm your faith openly for the first time.
So here are some thoughts to take with you after the ceremony.
Of all the things that we commit ourselves to, Faith is at the same time the closest and the furthest.
Unlike your parents, or your friends, or even a boyfriend!, you can’t argue with it or confront it anywhere but inside your own self.
It must sustain you even at that time when it seems to be the furthest from you, and when everything in the world seems to be dragging you away from it, somehow you must find yourself returning.
But this is not something that happens on its own. To love a thing you must look after it, care for it, even, and especially, when it is furthest from your mind.
Pearls are like that: you can't just leave them in a box with all your other jewelry, they have to be kept separately in a special place and regularly taken out and kept moist and clean. You have to put yourself into them, and you have to do this all through your life: just as you have to do with your Faith. Always growing it, always looking after it, always including yourself in it.
With this pearl necklace, there is little locket. This is what you can do with it: whenever you feel that something important needs to be remembered, something that might be slipping away, either a person or an idea or a cause: write a little note about it, and put it in the locket and then take it out occasionally from time to time to re-affirm your commitment to it.

With love,


all images (c) cyril souchon


Hutchila said...

Hi C, this is stunning and realy special. Say hi to Niranjan from me.It's been a while since I last saw him.

Cyril Souchon said...

Hi L, will do :)

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