Seashells by the Sea Shore

Seashells by the Sea Shore

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Bella continues to remind me to find beauty in everything.

Every time we hit the beach, she likes to pick up the shells and stones like all 5 year olds do.  We have a 1-item limit when it’s time to head home to stop us from bringing every shell and rock she comes across back with us.

We spent last weekend visiting some dear friends, and were lucky enough to squeeze in a few hours of wave jumping and relaxing beach sitting despite the chaos (7 kids that were under 5!).  When it was time to leave, Bella scanned her collection and selected her prize.

It surprised me. It was a broken, ugly, beat-up shell.  She had many that were more beautiful, as shells go.  She collected some really unique stones, a shell so thin it was translucent, a perfectly shaped scallop, and an assortment of unique beach treasures, but she quickly picked this one with no hesitation and we were off.

I recall that at the time it seemed odd to me…it seemed quite ugly.

IMG_1335Late Sunday night, when we were sorting through the sand-filled debris from the beach weekend, I came across her treasure.  I looked quickly at it and was again puzzled why she picked the ugly one – so I asked her.

“Because it was the most beautiful.”

Instantly I realized I was in the same rut where I’ve caught myself before…  Looking but not seeing.  Wrapped up in past and future and not being present in the now.  I stopped, and l took time to just look at it.  This shell was amazing!  It was simply beautiful – intricate, and detailed, with history and a story.  Weathered and battered, and more special for it.  Paths and holes and texture and color…just fascinating.

IMG_1323I was embarrassed by my previous oversight, sad at the missed opportunity to see its beauty the first time, and grateful to Bella for once again showing me that everything is uniquely beautiful.

After I put her to bed, I turned a couple big party bowls, and I thought about that shell.  I felt the tiniest sparks hit me when I sharpened my tools, I watched the wood peel off at the razor edge, I smelled the sweet humidity as the air was filled with dust and shavings and sap, and it was thrilling.

It’s right there in front of you folks.  Everything you do and see and touch is amazing.  You just have to stop and look.