10,958 days

momdadSymbolism pervades much of life as we know it. If adversity is likened to a rainstorm, the rainbow is the emblem representing that the hardship has passed. The blinding desolation of night will be perpetually followed by the rescue of dawn. We are taught to believe that beauty, hope, and resiliency are often cultivated in darkness or when a specific sequence of circumstances fatefully align.

The symbol for the 30th wedding anniversary is the pearl. Much like the “diamond in the rough”, pearls are formed out of seemingly mundane circumstances romanticized into the charming notion that a banal spec of dirt, through time and patience, undergoes a transformation into the elegant pearl. The metaphor is that three decades of companionship forges a magnificent gem that continues to grow and evolve as it remains in the safety of the oyster’s shell.

The less glamorous reality begins with a piece of a debris that haphazardly invades the oyster’s shell. The oyster is a living creature with innate protective processes, much like humans. The debris is an irritant, but since the oyster is unable to remove the unwanted substance, it instead deposits layers of calcium carbonate around it. Rather than discard what chance has delivered, the oyster preserves it. Regardless of however aesthetically bland it may have been prior, the oyster ensures that its new existence is one of lovely iridescence.

I like to believe that these same forces of nature act on human connection. Rather than the notion that two individual people become one through connectedness, they take advantage of serendipity to form a separate entity that protects both individuals and endlessly expands while the two remain together.

Pearls are notorious for their strength and resiliency. Their beauty is not wrought from daintiness or fragility. The crystalline layers of calcium carbonate are similar to the wavelength of light and thus, light reflected from the outer surface interacts with the light reflected from the inner surface to produce a lustrous palette of color. The foundation created initially from the oyster’s self-preservation becomes a process of harmonious collaboration and eternal transformation.

The oyster is not blessed with the vision necessary to observe its own pearl. The elegance of its creation is best observed by the eyes to which its light is reflected.

How magnificent that I am the observer of a pearl three decades in the making.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.