"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than
rubies." Proverbs 3 1:10 (NW)
I must warn you, reader, before you begin. These words are ancient
jewels mined from the quarry of my life. Read them only if you dare
treasure them. For it would be better to never know, than to know and
The hand which writes them is now old, wrinkled from the sun and labor.
But the mind which guides them is wise:
- wise from years
- wise from failures
- wise from heartache.
- I am Asmara, merchant of fine stones.
I am a seller of stones. I travel from city to city. I buy jewels from
the diggers in one land and sell them to the buyers in another I have
weathered nights on stormy waters. I have walked days through desert
heat. I have dined with kings. I have drunk with paupers. My hands have
held the finest rubies and stroked the deepest furs. But I would trade
it all for the one jewel I never knew.
It was not for lack of opportunity that I never held it. There was a
chance in Madrid when I was young. No, it was not for lack of
opportunity. It was for lack of wisdom. The jewel was in my hand, but I
exchanged it for an imitation. And now I fear my days will end without
my ever knowing the beauty of the precious stone.
I have never known true love.
I have known embraces. I have seen beauty. But I have never known love.
If only I'd learned to recognize love as I have learned to recognize
My father taught me about stones. He was a jewel cutter. He would seat
me at a table before a dozen emeralds. "One is true," he would
tell me. "The others are false. Find the true jewel."
I would ponder—studying one after the other. Finally I would choose.
I was always wrong.
"The secret," he would say, "is not on the surface of the
stone; it is inside the stone. A true jewel has a glow. Deep within the
gem there is a flame. The surface can always be polished to shine, but
with time the sparkle fades. However, the stone that shines from within
will never fade."
With the years, my eyes learned to spot true stones. I am never fooled.
The stones I purchase are authentic. The gems I sell are true. I have
learned to see the light within.
If only I'd learned the same about love.
But I've been foolish, dear reader, and I've been fooled.
I've spent my life in places I shouldn't have been, looking for
someone with sparkling eyes, beautiful hair, a dazzling smile, and fancy
clothes. I've searched for a woman with outer beauty, but no true
value. And now I am left with emptiness.
Once I almost found her. Many years ago in Madrid, I met the daughter of
a farmer. Her ways were simple. Her love was pure. Her eyes were honest.
But her looks were plain. She would have loved me. She would have held
me through every season. Within her was a glow of devotion the like of
which I've never seen since.
But I continued looking for someone whose beauty would outshine the
How many times since have I longed for that farm girl's kind heart,
her sweet smile, her faithfulness? If only I'd known that true
beauty is found inside, not outside. If only I'd known, how many
tears would I have saved?
I'd trade in a moment a thousand rare gems for the true heart of one
who would have loved me.
Dear reader, heed my warning. Look closely at the stones before you open
your purse. True love glows from within and grows stronger with the
passage of time.
Heed my caution. Look for the purest gem. Look deep within the heart to
find the greatest beauty of all. And when you find that gem, hold onto
her and never let her go.
For in her you have been granted a treasure worth far more than rubies.
Seek beauty and miss love.
But seek love and find both.