There once was a little girl who loved her dad very much. When she was young, he handed her a small paper box tied with a pink ribbon. Untying the ribbon she opened the box to find a plastic string of pearls. In her eyes they were the most beautiful gift her father could have given her. Setting her old beads aside she proudly put on her new plastic pearls. She loved those pearls so much that she wore them everywhere she went. No time was right to ever take them off. She wore them outside to play, in the bath tub, at school and even when she slept. For years these precious pearls and her were inseparable.
Then, one day her father asked for the pearls back. Her eyes brimmed with tears. How could she possibly bring herself to give up her precious pearls? Her voice cracked as she replied, “No.” Her father said
nothing but turned and walked out of the room. A couple of days later, he asked for the pearls again. With quivering lips she again replied in a whisper, “No.” Once again, her father’s head lowered and he left the room.
Her little heart broke at the disappointment in her father’s face but even more at the thought of losing the pearls he had lovingly given her so long ago. Finally, her father came to her one night after she had said her prayers and was climbing into bed.
She unfastened the clasp from her pearls and they fell into her hands. Tears streamed down her face as she handed them to her father. Calmly, her father accepted her offering and reached behind his back. With steady hands he gave opened a small velvet box. Inside was a string of real pearls.
There are many things we hold on to that God has given us in our lives that would be extremely hard to let go of. For me, it is leaving Colorado and our amazing parish and priests (I still cry when I think about it). It has been months but my heart still mourns every time I think about our life there. Yet, now, I can see that God is trying to exchange my precious pearls for those of even greater beauty and value. It is in letting go that we allow God to give us greater gifts than those He first has bestowed on us.
“When one tears something dear away from us, and when this is demanded of us in the name of obedience–for a future which is yet hidden from us–one must say yes, one must be content in saying yes, one must be content even to feel suffering. But it is with happiness one suffers, for he has something to give to God” ~Cardinal Journey
Reflection: I know it is not the most logical thing to fear what gift God is trying to give me. It’s like a car salesmen coming to my house and saying, “You know, I noticed your car could use a few upgrades. I’ll give you all that I can for free.” or better yet, “Your car is looking a little worn, I’ll give you a brand new one free of charge. All you have to do is say the word.” Sometimes it is harder to replace things that still seem functional than those that are falling apart. Anyone whose car is a rust bucket would gladly accept a free new car. But those whose cars are still running and doing fine would be a little more reluctant. Our car maybe be a little worn but it is well loved and has served us a good many years. Why replace something that works? Because, sometimes, God wants us to let go of those things that we have out grown spiritually. It is His way of calling us closer to Himself, to trust Him fully even though we may not understand it at the time.
Challenge: Examine your life. Can you see the times where God was asking you to give something up and you reluctantly and sorrowfully said, “No”? In the short amount of time we have here on earth we will spend a lot of time holding onto gifts less precious than those which God wishes to give us. This week, work on docility and being open to the small gifts God plants before your path. If you have a prompting to go to adoration, do it. Daily Mass? Do it. Rosary? Do it. Help a neighbor or friend? Do it. Send an encouraging note to someone who randomly popped into your head? Do it. Spread God’s gifts to others and practice saying ‘Yes’ even to the smallest promptings even if it is delayed.