In India, there are rubies all over the ground, my husband told me.
Then why isn’t India a much richer country? I asked.
Because the rubies aren’t high quality.
He had just gotten back from his trip, and had brought me a beautiful necklace with a gorgeous pendent. While it’s not ancient, it has the rough look and feel of something very old. It’s weighty with its metal, tiny little diamond chips, small emeralds, and larger rubies. I pretend they are real (but really, I’m not sure).
This idea of rubies on the ground struck me. I imagined that God had lovingly sprinkled these gem stones all around, like confetti candy on an ice cream sundae. Each one of them different, with their varied chips and imperfections, but each one created perfectly for a piece of adornment somewhere. I imagined it must be a little frustrating for God that people stomp all over these stones, kicking up dust all around them, never noticing them and worse, casting them off as something of no value.
I was on the train reading Ann Lamott when God showed me a whole new perspective. All at once I was thinking about my work: I have a company (which I’ve decided to turn into a non-profit) called She’s ELEVATED, the purpose of which is to elevate women to their God purpose. In my work at church, I run a mentoring program for kids on probation. And in my own life, I’ve let so many of my own imperfections keep me from finding my own fit, from creating that perfect piece of jewelry that will adorn the body of Christ.
I immediately realized that if God’s frustrated because we don’t notice the rubies on the ground, how much more so is he stirred when our beautiful children are tossed away into the prison system or when powerful women are so busy that they are missing their purpose entirely? Is he up there pulling his hair out, saying “Oy! People! Don’t you see? That ruby right there? The one you just stepped on, then tossed into a jail cell? He was the one I sent to help you cure cancer! But you neglected him and then you judged him, and you didn’t guide him. And now you have tossed him away!”
Or does he look at the mom who is working so hard at a job that pays her less than she’s worth, then runs around like crazy to take care of her family? Does he look at her and see that she is so busy fulfilling her roles that she never fulfills her purpose?
I like to keep people at a distance. I don’t really do small talk well. If I know you and like you, then we will have awesome conversations, but for the most part I really dislike making chit-chat, and I’m more comfortable not getting to know too many people. Quite frankly, people exhaust me.
But God is calling me out into the spaces of others. He’s asking me to get down in the dirt, to sift through the dust to find the rubies. He wants me to look at each one individually, with no judgement, just curiosity, to see where they fit, and to connect them to their beautiful adornment. He is telling me we must not disregard an entire nation for the state of the rubies. Instead, we must find their perfectly unique place on the body where they can shine for all the world to see.
I’m always amazed when I read the Bible and discover something I’ve never seen before, even though surely, I’ve already read that passage. This morning I read in John 1:9-13 (The Message):
But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their Child-of-God selves.
It’s an amazing thing to realize that in Jesus, all we rubies on the ground are perfected. That it’s in him that we discover our true selves….that which God created us to be. God fashioned every chip, and line and imperfection. And he has the piece of jewelry that’s made just for us — he has that place where we can shine.
And my place is to help others find theirs.