I love pearls! To me they represent femininity. Pearl earrings are my favorites. I wear them very often. I think they can transform the appearance of a woman quite a bit. On bad hair days, when a baseball cap seems to be the solution, those pearls work like a charm. They give me a more soft or ladylike appearance. But pearls are not soft or fragile at all, they are consequence of adversity.
A pearl is formed when an irritant, like a parasite, enters the shell of the mollusk. Unable to expel the irritant the mollusk defends itself by depositing layers after layers of nacre around it. There are natural pearls and cultured pearls. Natural pearls have a very thick layer of nacre and take years to be formed after a parasite enters the shell. On the other hand, some pearls have the interference of man to speed up its formation. A bead or mantle tissue is inserted into the mollusk shell; the mollusk will react the same way by depositing the nacre substance around the intruder to form what we know as a cultured pearl. Although they differ on their interior the process is the same. The mollusk refuses to give in to the irritant and protects itself by transforming something ugly and undesirable into something beautiful.
I have encountered a number of “pearls” through the years. They are women who had suffered many things in life but had overcome in a great way. They had faced hardships imposed on them by co-workers, by family members, by society, or simply by uncontrollable circumstances. But these women didn’t succumb to the pressures; they rose above the ugliness of the situation and came out stronger than before. These pearls are worriers, winners, women of faith and courage, women who are leaving a legacy for others to follow. They are role models!
Today I want to honor one of these pearls, my eldest sister. Growing up we were not so close, maybe because she matured faster than I did even though we are not so far apart in age. I remember her taking care of my younger siblings and me. At the time, as a child, I didn’t enjoy the aspect of her bossing me around to help her with chores around the house, which my mom made sure we kept sparkling all the time. I also didn’t enjoy when she wanted to make sure my hair was shiny and soft by applying milk with lime juice to remove chlorine after a day at the pool. Less yet I enjoyed when she wanted my nails done; she made me her “guinea pig”. But I certainly enjoyed all the good food she prepared from an early age. She would make delicious dishes for us to savor as we watched movies in “Sessão da Tarde,” an afternoon TV show as I was growing up. Good memories from the past!…
Now it’s a different thing. We grew up. We parted houses forming our own families. Even though our schedule doesn’t allow us to see each other very often we are very close. We are twice sisters – by the bloodline of our parents and by the bloodline of our Savior Jesus Christ.
She’s someone I can look up to. I’ve seen her pass though some dark valleys with her eyes closed, many times drowned in tears. I’ve seen her climb mountains on her knees, and yell alone in the silence. She always prays her way through any hurdles, out of any burden, and up into the throne of God! She doesn’t contemplate defeat; she doesn’t allow her lips to say the lies her enemy tries to poke into her head. She lives by the Word – the Living Word of God! She only accepts what is written. She knows who she is, whom she serves, and where she is going. With each new trial I’ve seen her grow stronger. Her faith is unshakable!
My first sister is Kendali. She’s a small-framed woman with the spirit of a giant, an angel in disguise. Uncountable times she has rescued me, emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically. She’s a mother admired and duly honored by her kids. She’s a blessing beyond measure to all who know her. She’s truly an example to follow, a role model. She’s a pearl indeed!