DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
"Make it your ambition
to lead a quiet life, and work with your hands."
1 Thessalonians 4:11
Way back in 1975 our wedding was a Woodstock-style
affair with a two-tiered (organically-grown) carrot cake amid
gifts wrapped only in newsprint by our request. For all our biodegradable
communal living, heterosexual marriage for life was still an
unquestioned ideal. With God on our side, nuptial bliss made
us feel like we could change the world.
Our honeymoon night was a suitably earthy affair involving
a low-budget stay in a friend's geodesic dome nestled remotely
in the country aspen. The place had been named "Norbuck
Diamond Mines"; a muse on the effect made by several crystal-shaped
windows in the dome's multi-angled roof.
The next morning we donned our unisex wedding gear,
buckled on our two-bit sandals and headed out in a Cortina we
called 'If' to shoot wedding pictures and launch Day Two of a
three-day celebration. It had rained during the wee hours. Lots.
We were on a roll but 'If' wasn't. He just sat on the slight
incline of a greasy county road in the ironic morning sun and
spat mud up my front while Barbara coaxed the gearbox with stunning
ineffectiveness. Don't even try pushing a bogged down car in
your bare feet. But you can thank God for long-in-the-tooth farmers
I don't remember if the mud caked on my attire
and congealed between my toes before we found a suitable scrub-down
zone. But we do have pics to prove we presented ourselves respectable
to the naked lens by mid-morning, any hint of foolhardy planning
washed down some unsuspecting drain.
Those first hours of mishap matrimony modeled elements
that would characterize much of our first 25 years together.
Later, during the spring that we finally felt ready for sheep
we'd neglected to cover all the bases and contracted footrot
in the flock; a battle we won only after months of tending a
miserable formaldehyde footbath. The brilliant scheme of farming
with horses ended after only one year and a runaway bundle wagon.
And our dreamy notions of creating an alternate society where
possessions were held in common ruptured years later from the
Yet for all the 'Green Acres'-style tomfoolery
a little light shone undaunted: the 'wing nut' frequency rate
diminished. We were slowly weaned off ideas that lacked staying
power. Notions of a transformed society always pointed first
to a changed heart. It became not 'God on our side' but 'we chose
to be on his' or even more so, 'He has welcomed us to join Him'.
They say that newly discovered
diamonds are nothing much to look at. But we all know the beauty
that can emerge as the original form yields its inner qualities
to skillful work. Hearts are like that; diamonds in the rough.
The raw product contains a hint of the divine. And so the material
undergoes the forming work of the stonesmith. When he is done
light playfully dances in unguessable directions with quiet precision.
May our lives so shine.