Finding Beauty in a Pile of Sea Shells
I gently placed one foot down on the rocky, shell filled beach feeling the crunch of the pile of sea shells crack beneath the weight of my body. I was careful to balance myself at just the right angle so the sharp edges of the broken sea shells, and rough sand wouldn’t poke the bottoms of my feet. Holding onto my red purse for dear life, I wobbly walked along the shore line in knee deep water picking at hidden treasures that were uncovered from deep below the ocean’s surface.
My legs were already fatigued from the one and a half mile walk my family and I made along the North Carolina shore, so attempting to balance on a floor of jagged sea shells looked like a poor circus act. With every step I took my body swayed a little to the left, and a little to the right, until I finally caught my center of gravity making sure my red purse and the items contained in it wouldn’t be plummeting to their death.
Every muscle in my calves and quads, as well as the pinching sensation I felt on the soles of my feet begged, and pleated with me to stop walking. The sad part is I was once a division two athlete, but a few years living the NARP (Non Athletic Regular Person) lifestyle can really catch up to ya.
The place where I was standing housed thousands upon thousands of shells washed up along the sandy shore called The Point, in Outer Banks, North Carolina. This particular spot is known for the churning of opposing currents which digs up the ocean’s deepest treasures. Looking along this beach, a guest like myself can witness large trucks such as Ford F150s and Jeep Grand Cheerokees perched on the top of the Earth’s soft, sandy surface. Rows upon rows of these vehicles housed individuals grilling food, playing country music, drinking alcoholic beverages, all while casting long, clear lines into the Atlantic blue to uncover a different kind of treasure than I was looking for. A Philadelphia suburban girl like myself was astonished at the southern sight.
What intrigued me the most about The Point’s beauty was the sea shells. There were all different types of shells. Some were big, wholesome shells that portrayed an off white, grey color. Others were heart shaped shells that had ripples along the surface of the shell. There were broken shells, purple shells, pink shells, shells that were white as snow, shells with barnacles – you get the point.
Out of all the shells that surrounded me, I found beauty in the shells that were unique, and different from the rest. I found beauty in the shells that were broken, that had deep scrapes, barnacles, and holes throughout the surfaces of them. These were the shells I picked up, these were the shells that became sacred and special to me. I found beauty in the uniqueness of these particular shells.
I think we as individuals can be compared to these “broken” and “unique”sea shells I found on the beach in North Carolina. It’s a weird comparison I know but stick with me on this one.
Each sea shell that I picked up had its own unique, and different qualities than the shell sitting next to it. I treasured each of these shells because of the UNIQUENESS they portrayed . No two shells looked alike. No shell compared itself to the one next to it. They just laid there on the sand amongst all the other shells, basking in their own individual beauty and rolled where ever the ocean tide took them.
See where I’m going with this..?
If those broken, barnacle, hole filled beautiful shells are treasured just as they are, then think about how greatly we are treasured just as we are, brokenness and all.
Have you ever wondered if you are good enough? Beautiful enough?
Have you ever compared yourself and your struggles to those around you?
Have you ever wished you had other qualities or traits?
Or what about hating the situations and circumstances that broke certain parts of your innocence?
You question why certain situations had to occur, going through them over and over in your head.
You see, like the broken shells I found on the beach, each one of us has a set of qualities – outward and inward that make us individually who we are.
Inwardly, each of us houses the complete, individualistic personality that makes up our entire being. This includes our passions, our fears, our likes, our dislikes, what makes us tick, what makes us happy, the circumstances and situations that broke us or pushed us to the next level – these are all the little intricate details that are woven together specifically in a unique formula and fashion that make the only you on this planet.
Outwardly, if you think about it no one looks exactly the way you do. The texture of your hair, the dimples on your cheeks, the curves of your legs. You were made to look the way you do for a reason. Sure you can change the outward appearance but who you are outwardly is the unique, individualistic person you portray to the world.
You see, each scrap, hole and barnacle on a particular shell can tell a unique story about what and where that shell has been. Just like each sea shell tells a different story about where the ocean tide took them, each particular situation, and circumstance you have been through (good and bad) make you unique and different than all other individuals.
The truth is we all have broken pieces of our being, hidden parts of ourselves that we rarely show to anyone else in fear that it will drive them away. We all have ugly and jagged sides of our personality that is tainted by the evil doings of this world. At the end of the day each of us desperately hopes that someone sees these broken pieces, this uniqueness, and believes that we are beautiful despited the jagged edges of our souls.
So to the individual who struggles to find beauty within themselves, I am here to tell you that you are perfect the way you are, flaws and all.
You are beautiful in your OWN uniqueness, and your OWN brokenness.
I believe God finds beauty in the brokenness, he finds beauty in the holes of our personality just like he finds beauty in the unique, broken, barnacle filled sea shells I found on the beach.
Whatever brokenness you feel, whatever “ugliness” you think you have, I want to tell you that you are treasured more than you understand or comprehend. You are an individual that is made perfectly the way you are for this particular moment in time.
Whatever circumstances you faced that caused you pain, hurt or brokenness, are just what you needed to make you a stronger, more influential individual on this planet.
You are not what society tells you to look like, act like or be. You are uniquely yourself, let that unique, broken, different, awesome, cool individual shine. Have confidence in yourself, your abilities, who you are and who you are not, because you are one truly great individual. Strive for excellence but do not be so hard on yourself that you see yourself in a negative light. Let go of the insecurities that you struggle with and just let yourself be because you are beautiful and are treasured just as the sea shells on the beach are treasured.
So readers, next time you are on a beach and you find a sea shell, pick it up, admire its beauty, stick it in your pocket and let it be a reminder that you too are treasured and beautiful despite the brokenness you feel.