I recently read a book by author Frank Viola entitled ‘From Eternity to Here’. While this book was very enjoyable to read, one part was especially intriguing to me. In his book, he explains how pearls are formed.
* “Pearls are made when a foreign object becomes caught inside of an oyster. The object wounds the oyster. The wound is enclosed and inescapable. In reaction to the wound, the oyster releases a substance called nacre that coats the intruding object. As thousands of layers of nacre coat the object, a pearl is formed. It takes seven to eight years-an oyster’s full lifespan-to form a pearl. Pearls are created by irritation. You and I will face painful situations in life that are inescapable. They intrude upon us without invitation. We cannot run from them. They box us in.”
I couldn’t help but immediately murmur the words, “Hmmm…Lupus, must be my pearl.” As a matter of survival, I’m always looking for a brighter side to this disease that I have been battling for a number of years. The formation of a pearl in an oyster is indeed very similar to what lurks inside those that suffer greatly from this life-altering disease. Just as the oyster is wounded by the invading object, lupus sufferers know all too well that they themselves have been attacked. And yes, seven to eight years is not uncommon before the true realization of Lupus unfolds.
Nacre, that which the oyster emits in order to ‘fight’ invaders is, in reality, a way of coping with a situation that it had little control over. It begs to ask, “What do we have to help us fight such an invasion?” While there remains no cure for Lupus, and we don’t always have such a ‘gem’ produced as a result of it, we do have options available to us that help us during difficult times.
Modern day medication to deal with the numerous effects of the disease are our first defense. Informed medical providers from all walks of life are crucial to our journey and our well-being. Family, friends, co-workers and all those who reinforce our support system, are probably right up there at the top. Medicine is important, providers a must, but the support of loved ones is monumental when it comes to lifting us up when we need it most. I urge all those that suffer with this disease, surround yourself with the love and kindness of others. It not only helps us when we need it most but, just like the oyster, we are doing what we must to make something positive out of an unwanted foe.
* Permission to quote granted. Frank Viola, From Eternity to Here, Pg. 215.