One of my mom’s favorite beach activities has always been searching for seashells. So on this trip, we helped her look. My husband, my brother, and I walked up and down the shores of Alabama in search of seashells. I noticed quickly that my preference in seashells had changed since I was a little girl! When I was younger and helped Mom in the seashell hunt, I was always looking for the perfect shells. The shells that were whole and unblemished.
Now as an adult, I realized that I kept gravitating to the broken shells. I collected a good many broken shells, some of them being large pieces of what must have been huge, magnificent shells of all colors under the ocean. I wondered about why I kept picking up the broken ones, and why they were appealing to me. My conclusion was that I could relate more to the broken shells now.
These broken shells had a story. Who knows how far they had traveled to this beach, or what wondrous creatures occupied them, or what predators had broken them, or how many times the ocean current had pounded them, or how many other people had walked by them. These broken shells reminded me of real life, and of real people. Real, broken, imperfect people who have experienced the toll of life. Those broken shells reminded me, of me! I could relate better to the broken ones than the perfect ones.
And the truth is there is a beauty in brokenness. I have seen this beauty countless times in the stories of people from everywhere, whether refugees I have assisted, or in the stories of human trafficking survivors, or in the stories of my classmates & colleagues, or in the lives of my family and friends. We don’t have the ability to experience perfect lives in this world. But I believe that beauty can rise from brokenness because Jesus Christ redeems and makes people new.
If you have journeyed on the road of suffering, consider walking alongside someone around you who is currently undergoing suffering. Comfort others with the same comfort you have received from God. If you are not sure where to start, volunteer with Blanket Fort Hope (BFH). The children who will come through the doors of BFH have experienced brokenness in a devastating way. BFH is at its core a place of hope and comfort for those who are suffering. However you are able to help those who suffer, expect to see Christ. He is close to the suffering and brokenhearted.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like the perfect and whole seashells! They are a reminder to me that God will make everything whole again one day. As long as I live on this earth, however, I imagine I will always relate most to the broken shells 🙂