When I was a kid my mom would get up extra early while we were on vacation. It would baffle this kid who would sleep until she was dragged out of bed screaming. She would tell me about her seashell hunting early, before others were able to snatch the all up. She even asked me each year if I would join her.
Slowly over the years I have found myself collecting them each time we vacation. Getting a handful as I walk in the mornings, another handful as I play in the water with my nephews. I’ve got a rather large quantity now that I sit out each summer in a vase.
Seashell picking is a rather unique and very individualized affair as each person chooses often a particular type or color, some seeking whole shells in their full form. I watched as my youngest nephew picked them the other night while we were out for a walk on the beach. He was picking based solely on what his perspective granted him in defining beauty. He would get so excited finding one that was “perfect” in his mind. He had two pocketfuls of the perfect shells to bring back by the time we were done.
As I have found shells, I am realizing I gravitate toward the broken, the imperfect and the strewn about. I like the ones with rough edges and are mostly just pieces of a bigger shell long destroyed by the waves, people, things… Those pieces have survived, they’ve born out their duty and now lay on the sands of a beach on display. Showing the world they have arrived at a destination, beaten up and broken but still present. They’ve learned to grow ridges to protect what is carried inside, to weather the conditions of their environment and still be a piece of beauty to behold.
The shells tell a story that I find myself drawn to as they bring hope and joy that even in the sea, you can emerge in pieces but at your landing spot. For someone to discover, to find beauty in, to see hope, and to bring joy. That someone is out there early today on the hunt specifically for you and what you have to bring to their life. Someone is seeking you for the perfectness that you are to them, so they can carry you close and carry you home. There’s even someone who is looking for you today that sees the broken state, the pieces this life has cast you into and desires your story and what you bring to this life.