Dear Reader: Be Like the Diamond in the Rough

A piece inspired by recent time spent with my grandfather


Dear Reader,

I’m not sure how my words will find you when you read them, but I pray that they find you well and bring you hope and perspective.

Dear Reader, like the diamond formed in the rough, we, too can come to know our brilliance to shine as we encounter the rough places and pressures of life.

My paternal grandfather Louis P. Howard, 92 years of age, witty, intelligent, and of good conversation, recently spent some time here in the Tampa Bay area with us. He, born during the height of the Great Depression in 1932, along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  who was born just three and a half years prior, would be what I would like to classify as diamonds in the rough. When asked, “If you knew then, having experienced it all – what you know now – would the future be worth saving for your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren?”, he answered, “Yes! The future is worth saving,” and he stated it with such clarity and sincerity that “It should be!”

His answer was, “Yes!” given everything that he had lived through – as a child, the height of the Great Depression, the beginning and duration of WWII, racism/segregation, the first nuclear bomb to be used in war, and the pressure of oppression in many forms as an American and Black man. His parents, my great grandparents, would have known a systematic system of slavery’s oppression; but his answer was still, “Yes!”

To be born and to live during times of uncertainty is to be formed and to be shaped by the pressures and rough places of life. It is like the process of becoming a diamond in the rough, and the quality of diamond that I saw as I spoke with my grandfather that night was of great value and substance. Like beauty rising from ashes, so were the words of my grandfather’s wisdom rising from the ashes of his own fires, experiences, and challenging places of life.

If individuals like my grandfather, having lived through all of this, can still answer yes, what will your answer be, Beloved? Is the future still worth saving when you consider all of these things today?

The answer is yes, and I sincerely believe that our character and morals of good value will play its part in saving it.

You see, the world has seen many challenging times before, and what we see today in so many aspects, although challenging, is not the beginning of something new. Our world has seen hard times before, and it has had its share of calamity in many forms. The Bible, in fact, tells us that there’s nothing new under the sun that hasn’t already been seen; if we choose to look today with the perspective of the past, we just might find answers for a brighter future, and, in the process of doing so, we just might keep history from repeating itself.

So, what will our choice today be?

If we look to the past and don’t change, we just might find that history will repeat itself. But, if we look to the past to change, we just might find on the horizon the hope and path to a brighter future because, you see, we shape our world as we are shaped, Beloveds, and we change what we allow to be changed as we become the diamond in the rough.

We are all on a journey of becoming, no matter the age, and the only way to truly allow this process to be is to choose today to be who you want to be. We choose our character, and we get to choose what our legacy will become within the tapestry of history.

Diamonds are born (formed) beneath the surface of the earth, and they are usually brought to the surface by the eruption of a volcano. They’re created under great pressure and are not easily accessible. My grandfather, born in 1932, and at 92 years old today, is what I would classify as a diamond in the rough. Born during the height of the Great Depression and living through times of other great calamities, he became the diamond that we know today.

Dr. King, born January 15, 1929, is quoted as saying, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that” and “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” If he, born just three and a half years before my grandfather, and one who we would consider as a diamond in the rough, too, believed this to be the prescription for problems of the past, then can this same prescription be the solution for problems that we face today? I know a few diamonds, given everything that they have been through, who would say so.

Dr. King gave his life for a future that he would not be a part of. He advocated as a leader to make a difference within our world. We should look for these qualities within our leaders, and we should require them to be attributes of their character because a true leader has a servant’s heart, and a true leader is also a diamond in the rough – born under great pressure and not easily brought to the surface.

These gentlemen, born during times of calamity and in times that would rob them of the basic rights of freedom, still became and let nothing stop them from becoming diamonds in the rough. So, let us aspire and be inspired to become – and let us give to our world with integrity and character all that was given to us. With sincerity, let us be the salt of the earth, and with sincerity, let us be the light of the world, because in this path, and in this path alone, we just might find that we have been called, too – to become the diamond in the rough. Be unique, different. Be all that God has called you to be. Be the city on the hill; be different, and whatever you do, don’t stop being who God has called you to be. For you are a world-changer, Beloved, and you have been called to be a diamond in the rough.

In summary, we can choose who we want to be, and because God gave us free will (choice) we can choose who we want to become. So, choose light over darkness, and choose to be the salt of the earth, because I pray that you, too, will know now, that the future is worth saving. Let us give to our world and its future generations, with morals and Godly values, the keys (mantles) that have been given to us, and let us give to the future generations to come, a world that was given to us; for we can form and we can shape it with the righteousness of God, but we should not bring it to the place where it ceases to exist.

Dear Lord, we desire to be the good (light) within the city, and we desire that You would heal our land so that we might as Your children and representatives within the earth be seen as cities on a hill. Give us strength and endurance, and help us carry the banner that dignifies the sovereignty of Your divine presence within the earth, for the earth is Yours and the fullness thereof. For we are all tenants living in a world that You created.

Dear Reader, continue to trust God even in the difficult places, because He will see to it that you make it to the destination of His promises. I want you to know that you are not alone, and it is my prayer that this column will make you feel as though you have a place to belong and somewhere to call home.

Share your story and prayer requests below and at, and our team will be sure to keep you lifted in our prayers.

P.S., Yours Truly,

The Writer, Seneca Howard

About Seneca Howard

Seneca Howard is a pastor, author, mentor, and motivational speaker who inspires the lives of others through crisis ministry, counsel, and personal development.

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