“Sadly folks, Summer ended at 4 o’clock today.”
What a sad thought for this girl. We sat at a local restaurant right off of the beach I love, and listened to a waiter usher this depressing blow. I love everything about the lazy days between May and September. Always have. If you know me at all, then you know there is only one place I really want to be when the season comes to an end.
If my girls have inherited anything from me, it has to be our love of the waves. My daughter has grown up in the sand. She is that child with the bucket, the one hunting shells. She will begin her relentless pursuit of finding treasures.
Now, understand her quest is not for what you or I would deem worthy. I have seen her throw back shells that could be sold in the store. She just smiles and says, “Not that one.”
I had a few hours to kill, so one afternoon I joined her on her adventure. I sat by the shore with my daughter, and asked her to tell me about her newest additions. She proceeded with the utmost care in unfolding their splendor to me. Honestly, I tried, but all I could see was a bunch of misshapen, broken, ugly shells. Not one would I have chosen as my prize.
Like a proud parent, she recounted each one’s story. She spoke of their adventures in the sea. She told me where they might have come from and some, how they may have been broken.
She shared with me their journey, evidence of a trial. Storms, waves, ultimately ending up on the shore in pieces. Not at all how they started, but here they are–stranded, waiting for someone to pick them up and point out their beauty.
As I sat there and listened to the wisdom of this 11-year-old child, it occurred to me that she has vision that the world doesn’t grasp: The beauty of imperfection.
This was not the plan, but it is also not the end.
We are all touched by it. Victims of dreams deferred. Everything from life careening off course, to unfulfilled desires of family, or love (or both).
“God, what are YOU going to do with this? Where is the beauty? ‘Cause I just don’t see it.”
There was a plan, but now what?
I have a heart that hangs in my kitchen that was given to me during our first year of marriage. I was so proud of that heart. A dear friend gave it to me as a symbol of the work that God was doing in me at that time. Then the storms came, life got hard, and I was at the end ( of everything).
One day I came home frustrated and in a hurry, I knocked the heart off of the wall and it broke. I picked up the pieces, and I cried. I called the heart giver. I asked her to give me another heart. In her wisdom, she said that she wouldn’t give me a new one, but we could still use mine.
We put the pieces back together and she said, “Sometimes, the beauty can be found in the scars.”
I still look at that heart every day. A constant reminder that broken doesn’t mean worthless. Imperfection can still have purpose. There is redemption to be found among the broken.
My heart, My daughter’s shells … Beauty is not found in what is missing, but what remains. I wonder if God sometimes looks on His creation and His heart breaks a little. We see all that we aren’t, all that we missed, and all the broken pieces that we use to define us.
HE sees the beauty in what we are.
The world may not see it, but we are HIS prize.
Redeemed, ready to be picked up and put on display–broken pieces, scars and all.
In what ways are you broken? What beauty can you discover in the wounds?