The other day, I ran across this book. I bought this book years ago and used it as decoration. I hadn't read it in a long while. Like before Sweetpea was born, most likely. But that day, I sat down and read it. And boy, was I surprised.
I bought it for it's beauty. The pictures as well as the words. I never imagine how true these words would be for me.
After writing about my crazy week and Wendy's Waves post... this just seemed to fit. Add it Thanksgiving this week and it was perfect!
There was so much I could relate to. Some of it spoke to me as a person. Some of it spoke to me as a D Mama. Some of it spoke to me about my child, my D child. I felt some of it was about me. And some of it was about her.
I'm sharing it with you today. (With a few additions of my own in parenthesis.)
I hope you find as much beauty in it as I do. I hope that it speaks to your soul like it does mine.
My Beautiful Broken Shell
By Carol Hamblet Adams
Dawn has broken on a beautiful day here at the ocean. I've come to refresh my weary spirit and to refuel my tired soul.
I'm so grateful for the peace and the calm of the seashore, where time stands still and unrushed.... where I can see and feel the beauty around me.
This is my first morning at the ocean and as I walk to the beach, feeling the rich, warm sand beneath my feet, I decided to collect a few shells.
It is low tide and I watch, mesmerized as the ocean rises slowly .... curls.... and then spills its white-laced foam onto the shore.
I walk by a broken scallop shell... and leave it to search for more perfect ones.
But then I stop... go back.... and pick up the broken shell. I realize that this shell is me with my broken heart.
This shell is people who are hurting... people who have lost loved ones... people who are frightened or alone... people with unfulfilled dreams.
This shell has had to fight so hard to keep from being totally crushed by the pounding surf. Just as I have had to. (Or just as Sweetpea has had to.)
Yet this shell is still out on the beautiful sandy shore... just as I am.
Thank You, Lord, that I haven't been completely crushed by the heaviness in my heart...by the pounding of the surf.
If our world were only filled with perfect shells, we would miss some of life's most important lessons along the way. We would never learn from adversity... from sorrow... from pain.
Thank You, Lord, for all that I learn from my brokenness... for the courage it takes to live with my pain... and for the strength it takes to remain on the shore.
Broken shells teach us not to look at our imperfections... but to look at the beauty... the great beauty... of what is left.
If anything is still left of me or my loved ones, then that is enough to grab hold of... to keep me going... to thank God for.
Broken shells mean lots of tears... lots of pain... lots of struggle... but they are also valuable for teaching faith, courage, and strength.
Broken shells inspire others and demonstrate the will to go on in a way that no perfect shell could ever do.
Broken shells are shells that have been tested... and tried... and hurt... yet they don't quit. They continue to be.
Thank You, Lord, for the great strength it takes to simply be... even when I hurt so deeply that there seems to be nothing left of me.
As I walk along the beach picking up shells, I see that each one has its own special beauty... it's own unique pattern.
Lord, help me to see my own beautiful pattern... and to remember that each line and each color on my shell was put there by You.
Help me to not compare myself to others, so that I may appreciate my own uniqueness.
Help me to truly accept myself just as I am, so that I may sing the song in my heart... for no one else has my song to sing... my gift to give.
I watch the rolling surf toss new shells not the shore, and I am reminded of the many times that I, too, have been tossed by the storms of life and worn down by the sands of time, just like my beautiful broken shell. But I am reminded that broken shells don't stand alone.
Thank You, Lord, for being with me to share my life... to help me carry my burden.
Thank You for the precious gift of faith that keeps me strong when I am weak... that keeps me going when it would be easier to quit.
Thank You, Lord, for hope in times of despair... for light in times of darkness... for patience in times of suffering... for assuring me that with You all things are possible.
A wave crashes, sending tiny sand crabs scurrying for safety... and I am reminded that even the smallest creatures depend on each other.
Thank You, Lord, for filling my life with people who care. Thank You for my family... my friends... for those who are always there for me.
As I look at my beautiful broken shell, I see that it has nothing to hide. It doesn't pretend to be perfect or whole... it's brokenness is clear for everyone to see.
Lord, may I be strong enough to show my pain and brokenness like this shell. May I give myself permission to hurt... to cry... to be human.
May I have the courage to risk sharing my feelings with other so that I may receive support and encouragement along the way.
Lord, help me reach out to others... especially to the broken and discouraged... not only to love them but to learn from them as well.
May I listen... comfort... and give unconditional love to all who pass my way.
Lord, help me realize that I am not the only one hurting... that we all have pain in our lives... Help me remember that in my brokenness I am still whole and complete in Your sight.
As I walk among the many washed-up shells, I suddenly spot a broken conch shell... white and ordinary on the outside... yet brilliant coral inside.
Lord, help me see inside the hearts of the people who touch my life... and to see their true colors.
Somehow, here at the ocean, I receive so many gifts. I am grateful for the inner peace that fills my soul.
I take time to notice sandpipers playing along the shore... beach grasses swaying in the salty breezes. I delight in finding simple treasures... a piece of smooth green glass polished by the waves... a transparent white stone... a starfish.
Lord, help me remain childlike in my appreciation for life. Please slow me down...that I may always see the extraordinary in the ordinary. That I may always wonder at the shell in the sand... the dawn of a new day... the beauty of a flower...the blessing of a friend... the love of a child.
In my brokenness, may I never take life so seriously that I forget to laugh along the way.
May I always take the time to watch a kite dance in the sky... to sing... to pick daisies... to love... to take risks... to believe in my dreams.
As I look once more at the broken scallop shell in my hand, I am reminded of all the beautiful shells God has placed around me.
Lord, may I truly value every moment spent with my loved ones while this life is so briefly mine.
Let me not destroy the beauty of today by grieving over yesterday or worrying about tomorrow.
May I cherish and appreciate my shell collection each and every day... for I know not when the tide will come and wash my treasures away.
Thank You, Lord, for embracing my shell... whether I am whole or broken. Thank You for sending me loved ones who care. Thank You for holding me in the palm of your hand... for keeping me safe from the pounding surf.
For now, I'll just continue walking and add to my collection of beautiful shells.