During our vacation last week, I met a man hunting seashells with his two children. “I’m looking for the conch shells,” he explained.
“Conch shells? Well good luck with that,” I thought, but did not say.
I’ve been beach combing this stretch of the Jersey Shore for more than fifty years… (oh, another reminder, yep, I’m old!) and I’m sure it’s been more than forty-five years since I found The Conch. And I remember that day because even then a conch was a rare and glorious find for my eleven-year-old self.
I wondered how it had survived those immense rocks and the pounding surf, mostly undamaged, with just a few nicks and chips.
I still have that shell. (And a pile of other shells which I recently rediscovered in my attic. Oh my. I guess that's another post.)
So, when the gentleman commented, “I’m looking for the conch,” I felt sad for him, knowing he wasn’t going to find one anytime soon anywhere near here. I hoped he meant the moon shell, (family Naticidae), a much more common but still thrilling find, but he showed me a fragment and repeated almost to himself, “the conch.”
I heard shells bumping each other in his bag, and just as I was wondering what he had in there, he commented somewhat apologetically, “They like to keep the broken ones…” nodding to his son and daughter, scouring the piles of broken shells for conch fragments.
Children get it.
Of course, you must keep the broken ones,
because most of the time,
that’s all there is.
That’s what Jesus does.
He keeps the broken ones…every one of them, every one of us.
We’ve weathered storms;
we've been pounded on the rocks,
and here we are,
strewn along the shore of life.
The waves of our circumstances keep us scraping the bottom and each other,
and we’re washed in the salt water of our own tears.
“#beautyinthebrokenness” might be the hashtag God writes across every human life.
He wanders along the shore with His eye on the shining splendor of the mosaic of brokenness that stretches forever, and He says, Yes. I choose this one. And this one too.
unless you turn and become like children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.