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 Life is filled with irritations. One winter, we had wet wood. This winter, we’ve had a dog, which for me has brought new irritations! Sometimes it’s ants, flies, doctor appointments, rain, mud, drought, heat and sometimes it’s things that have broken.

At the moment our washing machine doesn’t work properly. On Saturday, as Johan had to work, I took all the children down to the laundromat to wash our dirty laundry. Since it was raining and the washing from the day before was still drying, I decided to use the dryer aswell. The driers are stacked up two high. I put my washing in the bottom drier, paid for my load and turned it on. I was highly annoyed at myself when the empty top dryer started up. I had paid for the wrong drier! And there was no stopping it. I had used my money to dry nothing! But I chose to laugh at myself and once again paid for my load.

If we wait until we have no irritations to be happy, thankful and content, it will never happen. When one irritations passes, there’s usually a new one there to replace it. 

What we should do is learn to be content in whatever state we are in. We can be thankful for the irritations we don’t have and all the blessings we do have. We can also remember that pearls come through irritations and that pearls are simply victory over irritations.

Life on earth would not be worth much if every source of irritation were removed. Yet most of us rebel against the things that irritate us, and count as heavy loss what ought to be rich gain. We are told that the oyster is wiser; that when an irritating object, like a bit of sand, gets under the “mantle” of his shell, he simply covers it with the most precious part of his being and makes of it a pearl. The irritation that it was causing is stopped by encrusting it with the pearly formation. A true pearl is therefore simply a victory over irritation. Every irritation that gets into our lives today is an opportunity for pearl culture. The more irritations the devil flings at us, the more pearls we may have. We need only to welcome them and cover them completely with love, that most precious part of us, and the irritation will be smothered out as the pearl comes into being. What a store of pearls we may have, if we will! ~Richard Seume

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