Thursday, September 8, 2011

Diamond in the Rough

My first day of work was uneventful for the most part.  The morning was passing along quickly with so much to learn and do - computer work, laundry, vacuuming, taking out the trash, more computer work, filing and many other tasks that consumed my time.  When I finally took my break at lunch, I went for a walk on the beautiful grounds and picked some flowers for my office.
In the afternoon, I spent my time learning about the computer system.  It was while I was talking to my boss, Sr. Carol, about revamping the website that I started twisting my engagement ring (a habit I have when I am deep in thought).  As I twisted the ring, it felt different.  On further inspection, I noticed that the diamond was missing.  This wasn’t just any diamond; it was and heirloom diamond that had been passed down through my husband’s family.  The intent for my diamond was that it would one day be passed down to one of my grandchildren.  Needless to say, I was devastated.
I work at a retreat center where people come to pray and reflect on their lives.  It is a very peaceful, sacred place where I myself had come years ago on retreat.  When I discovered my diamond was missing, I wasn’t feeling the peacefulness of the place because my heart was full of panic.  Sister Carol and I searched high and low for the diamond - all to no avail.  I retraced my steps a dozen times but I had been so many places that day, I had no idea where it could have ended up.  I went home with a heavy heart as I broke the news to my husband.
As the days passed at the Mother of God House of Prayer, I spent every lunch hour in search of my diamond.   The first day, I went back to the plants where I had picked my flowers.  I scoured the ground hoping the find a glimmer of light bouncing off my diamond.  Instead, I found beautiful white petals surrounding the magnolia bush.  The rich smell emanating from the bush was delightful.  I paused for a moment and relished in the simple beauty of this lovely bush.  
The next day, I went into the house where I had folded the laundry - no diamond was waiting for me by the dryer.  Sister Carol had shown me around the house, so I retraced my footsteps into each room.  When I entered the chapel, I looked down at the floor hoping to see the diamond but, instead, I saw a rainbow of colors cast across the carpet.  The colors were coming from the beautiful stained glass window in the chapel.  The sun was hitting the window in such a way as to fill the room with all the hues of the rainbow.  I paused and felt the sacredness of the place fill me with peace.  The magnificent colors filling the room at that moment made me smile and I forgot about my diamond for a while.   
Each day that followed, I went on my diamond quest; looking in nooks and crannies and even vacuum cleaner bags.  Strangely, I discovered that I was not overtaken by sadness in the elusiveness of my treasured diamond; rather I was filled with joy in finding God’s diamonds.  They were everywhere!
I soon forgot to search for my diamond and started searching for diamonds in the rough.  During my hunt, I found the sunny gates of heaven shining down on three crosses.  On the labyrinth path, I found forgiveness.   The garden path showed me the way to peace.  The glistening jewels at the water’s edge gave me gratitude.  I found my soul in the canoe and my heart in the shadow of an oak tree.  I found strength and weakness and tears but, mostly, I found myself.  
I’m not worried about my diamond any more.  Either it will turn up or it won’t.  Its absence doesn’t diminish the love between my husband and I that it represented.  I miss its beauty, but I am so fortunate to be surrounded by the beauty of my family, my home, my friends and all the diamonds in the rough that are waiting to be discovered in this beautiful place where I have the privilege to work. 
Just recently, as I was continuing my quest through the sacred grounds of the Mother of God House of Prayer, the thought occurred to me that maybe I am God’s diamond in the rough.  Maybe God is shaping me and polishing me by giving me the challenge of losing a precious stone to see what I will do with it.  Will I languish in self-pity and become angry or will I use this misfortune as an opportunity to learn and grow?  When I think back over my life, I realize that it has been full of “lost diamonds,” some losses were so much more painful than this one.  We all have our lost diamonds in our lives.  The question is what will we do with them?