Dear John Steinbeck,
I believe everything in life has a purpose, whether good or bad. Things creep in and out of our lives to each us lessons we would not have been taught otherwise. Your book, The Pearl, helped me open up my eyes to the dark reality of what can happen when we become caught up in worldly possessions. Not only did I experience a situation like this, but I also found a part of myself in the book’s main character, Kino.
Throughout my life, I have always had a strong relationships with my family, friends, and, most importantly, my God. Simply put, life was good. I was driving down the path of life on cruise control and without any problems. “What could go wrong now?” I thought to myself. In the midst of this, I was unaware that the opportunity for self-destruction was knocking at my door.
When I was about fourteen, my dad started to become a more and more successful businessman. His salary doubled, he acquired a high-esteemed position in the company, and he was the top sales representative for the Midwest. Upon this news, my family and I were overjoyed and thanked our Heavenly Father everyday for what He had done in our lives. Little did I know, this new gift, sound asleep in our bank account, was the root of a potential problem.
With the new sum of money, I immediately thought of the first person I would spend it on – myself. Clothes. Electronics. Shoes. These were just a few of the many items I greedily desired. I knew deep down that I did not truly need or deserve the luxuries, but my recent, self-absorbed persona smothered my original morals I once acquired. As my lust for earthly objects consumed me, I began to lose the girl I had always known.
In the months that followed, I replaced schoolbooks with catalogs and daydreamed of what unnecessary item I would purchase next. The more I bought, the more I wanted. This overwhelming craving for possessions hindered my relationship with my family and friends. I became more focused on what I was wearing than how I was treating others. I was drowning in my own selfishness and I could not come up for a breath. Who had I become? Looking on from the outside, I am not sure I could have even answered that question. As I fell deeper into the trap of self-absorption, I started to realize that no matter how much I bought, material possessions simply could not make me happy.
Sitting in bed one night, I opened up my Bible to 1 Timothy 6: 1 O. It read, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves." This verse directly related to my life at that dark time, and I knew God was speaking to me. The money had been the "pearl" in my life. I then thought, "How can something that caused so much happiness also bring so much pain?"
From then on, my life changed for the better. I realized the "pearl" that had once promised peace and prosperity only created sadness in my heart. Just like Kino, I decided to take my pearl and throw it into the ocean, slowly drifting into the depths, never to be seen again. A weight was lifted off my shoulders and "the music of the pearl drifted to a whisper and disappeared" (Steinbeck 135). Once again, I could breathe on my own. I thank you for helping me to come back to the surface and realize what a precious blessing life truly is. The pearl I once held in the palm of my hand is now a memory, a distant, isolated memory.