When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure (Peter Marshall).
People are like diamonds, you know.
We are birthed under pressure. We are formed from ashes.
The life cycle of diamonds … and people
Diamonds begin as pure carbon. Some say from coal, but coal is a sedimentary rock formed from decayed vegetative matter. Diamonds don’t come from coal.
Diamonds lie much deeper than that. They are birthed from carbon trapped deep underground at the time of the Earth’s formation.
Diamonds may be FOUND in close-to-the-surface sedimentary layers, but their home is 90 miles beneath the surface of the planet, in funnels contained within hard, igneous layers of rock.
Temperatures are over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit there, and the pressures are immense.
People can be found in soft places too. But is the hard and hot places in life that form character. Ease of life tends towards a sense of entitlement and a lack of humility.
Those who have been under pressure, who have endured testing and trials, cut their fellows some slack. They tend towards gratitude and generosity.
A true story (sad, but true)
I used to deliver mail for the USPS (talk about pressure).
Each year, we would hold a food drive. People would leave bags of donated food on their porches, and I would load them in my mail truck for delivery to a collection station.
If I happened to be working a route in a middle income or poorer neighborhood on that day, I would several times have to stop mail delivery to take truckloads of food to be sorted and taken to the food bank.
If I was working an upper class neighborhood, though – a place where people could AFFORD to give food away – I wouldn’t have to make any special runs at all.
The few paltry bags I collected took up hardly any room in my truck.
Isn’t that sad? Ask any letter carrier. I’ll bet you will hear the same.
How do diamonds get to the surface of the Earth?
Diamonds buried 90 miles deep under dirt and rock are still precious, but they don’t bless a single soul with their splendor. They have to get to the surface, and they have to be found.
Nature helps that process by volcanic eruption. A passage develops up through the Continental Plate from a pressure point in the Earth’s Mantle. As molten rock (magma) rushes through the funnel it picks up diamonds and ferries them to the surface or near the surface.
Diamonds on the ground were catapulted to the surface. They were unable, on their own, to move a single inch. But Nature prepared a taxi ride wilder than any New York City driver could provide.
Diamonds come “Special Delivery.”
Have you ever found a diamond on the ground?
Do you know how to identify a diamond? Would you know one if it got caught in your shoe? Most of us would not. We would curse the pebble and pitch it away from us – into the brush or a lake.
We do the same with people, don’t we? Rather than appreciate their beauty and the rare gift their struggles can bring us, we consider them ugly, worthless, and in our way.
We consider them throw-aways – only obstacles in our path to riches.
Where can you find diamonds?
Between 1869 and 1925, Russell Conwell delivered his “Acres of Diamonds” talk over 6,000 times. The Baptist minister traveled the globe with his story of a man who wanted diamonds so badly he sold his farm and devoted his life to searching for them – only to die alone and impoverished.
One day, the new owner of the old farm was watering an animal in the creek. The shiny rocks he saw there were diamonds – and thus was the beginning of the richest commercial diamond field ever found.
You see, the prospector missed the diamonds that had been there – right in front of his eyes – for years.
Where do you and I go in search of our diamonds? Vacations to resort hotels? Relationships based on physical attraction only? Alcohol? Church?
Anything, anyone, and anyplace can be a lure that pulls us away from the diamonds at our feet: Our children, our spouses, our work, our home.
Do you know how to make a diamond?
Modern technology can bypass the time requirements for birthing a diamond. You don’t have to wait and hope and search. You can make a diamond. All you need is carbon and pressure.
That’s not hyberbole; it is true.
Diamonds and humans, it turns out, are made from the same substance.