“June? You were born in June? Then why did your parents name you January?”
It is a question I have gotten a lot. I know the answer. Sometimes I take the time to provide it. Other times I don’t.
It has also taken me a number of years to embrace the name myself. To even embrace the person God has shaped me to be. Too many years. Too many hurts. Dark, twisty turns can often lead us to the place where we finally begin to see ourselves in the ways we were meant to be seen all along. It’s eye-opening. It’s liberating. It’s freeing. But it’s a nerve-wracking, heart-wrenching, soul-searching journey.
Sometimes it even means just owning your name. Owning your birthright. Owning the circumstances of your birth, and the suffering, darkness, and grit that have made you who you are.
Which is why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that January is the first month of the year. A month representing new beginnings. That the name January is derived from the name of the Roman god, Janus, who was the god of new beginnings, with two faces-one to look to the future and one to look to the past. I’ve always used my past to start anew. I’ve never been one to sit and sulk when hurt.
And, no I wasn’t born in January, and there is a reason for that, too. Those born in June, especially at the end of the month tend to be caring, empathetic, and kind. They are also forgiving and extremely optimistic, tending to look at the bright side, and seeing the good in most things (source).
However, they can also have a dark side. They are extremely clumsy (true fact, here), and because of their kindness and empathy-can be taken advantage of, and go through periods of suffering. Like their birthstone-the pearl.
I recently heard the following in a sermon: Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. Matthew 7:6, NLT
I thought it harsh, but it had me thinking about pearls. Why did Jesus use the pearl here, and not the diamond, ruby, or another jewel? Why the pearl?
Diamonds are great. They are said to be a girl’s best friend. Given as sign of commitment to the one chosen as a bride. Heavily sought after. Written about in songs. Everyone seems to want diamonds on their necks. Their wrists. A ring on it, and not a pearl ring, a diamond one. So, why is Jesus not talking about those? Diamonds?
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” Matthew 13:45-46, NLT
Again, why not diamonds?
One must understand how pearls are formed to understand why Jesus would choose to use this gem here. To find a pearl, one must search through hundreds of oysters. Why? Because pearls are not formed by chance. Contrary to belief, not every oyster contains a pearl. Pearls form after an irritant or some pesky monster enters the oyster. Some annoyance. To keep the oyster safe and secure. To protect it from harm, a fluid is secreted which eventually forms a rare, natural pearl.
So why pearls? Not diamonds?
Diamonds are a dime a dozen. Cut, fashioned, shaped, molded in the way the world desires. Placed in cases at every jewelry store, and set on any band you desire. There are infinite commercials about the diamond of one’s dreams-from Jared, of course.
Pearls don’t need to be cut, shaped or molded. They have to be searched for through seas and seas of oysters. They are sought after in their natural state. They are valuable because they need no polishing from the world, but are polished by God. They are the true representation of grace under pressure, purity, and integrity. They are protectors. Cased in shells until found in their infinite beauty.
Everything that represents Jesus.
June. I was born in June.
Full of wisdom. Polished in my natural beauty and rarity by my Maker. Pure. Innocent. Loyal. A place of safety in darkness. Valuable.
A pearl of great price.