Downtown Los Angeles was scorching hot as I strolled onto a busy street corner filled with impatient jewelers and diamond merchants. A handsome young man vied for my attention with a brochure in an outstretched arm.
“Thank you,” I said, accepting his offering. I glanced down and it said, “Join Our Christian Fellowship.”
I always carry a tiny copy of what I named the Living Promises in my wallet. I composed the eight verses to remind myself what is important in life. I gave the tightly folded paper not much larger than a postage stamp with crinkled corners to the gentleman as a trade.
When he noticed the word “diamond” in my name he smiled and said he was like a diamond with sharp edges. Then he said the Lord was chipping away his rough edges every day.
My business was finished so I continued toward the parking lot. My forehead and underarms were soaked and I dreamed of the air-conditioned car. As I neared my destination I thought about the young man and how he expressed his inferiority in a blend of joy and regret.
Throughout my life I attended church services in both affluent and poor neighborhoods. Even in my teens, I remember chanting how I was worthless without God’s love. I thought about Philip- the young man I just met. Would he feel insignificant without the comfort of a caring deity watching over him? Who or what convinced Philip he had jagged edges?
My mind wandered back to a diamond ring I was designing. I didn’t have time for a philosophy lesson. Yet, even as my car came into focus I could still envision Philip on that bustling street corner.
Phillip didn’t realize he was a living masterpiece.
Before I grasped the car door’s handle I remembered standing with a congregation and repeating:
“I am a lowly creature. I am unworthy of Your love.”
I noticed Philip’s brochure had strangely disappeared from my grip.
Maybe I tossed it in the trash.
Maybe Philip threw my little paper in the trash also.
Nevertheless, it was not too late to go back and tell Philip that despite any of his shortcomings he was not a rough or flawed diamond. He was a perfectly cut diamond who radiated blinding brilliance.
I turned around and walked with a fast pace. As I neared his street corner my eyes blurred from sweat. I wiped them with my palms but Philip was no longer there. Perhaps he found shelter inside the cooler interiors of the old office buildings. Maybe he went home.
If that little piece of paper finds its way into Philip’s dwelling, I hope he will unfold it. I hope he becomes inspired from at least ten words:
Know you are loved. Know you are a living masterpiece.