Do You Pick Up Broken Shells?

It was about a six (6) hour drive. Peaceful trip, few billboards, gas stations – mostly highway and pine trees. Enjoying the snacks, listening to my favorite 8 track tapes, and so grateful summer had arrived. Pulling into the driveway on 9th Street East Beach, I was elated. No cellphones to announce we had arrived, only a knock on the screened in door and then walked inside. 

As I stepped up into the house, I felt the plastic runner underneath my feet – some things never change. My grandmother hated sand; funny thing is they lived a block from the beach, and I am not sure if she ever went. I passed through the kitchen and saw the freshly baked banana bread on the dining room buffet. It was my favorite cake – filled with pecans, dates, and the thickest cream cheese icing. She always made it and something we had come to expect upon arrival. I called out to them and with big hugs and kisses, my summer began. 

Last week, we decided to take our annual family vacation. The truth is our kids convinced us we needed to relocate. We felt grateful they still wanted to be with us, just in a different setting. Arriving at the rental home, it felt, in many ways, just like the summers growing up. I can vividly remember every detail of those summers and each time, I go to the beach, the memories resurface. 

Feeling like a little girl, I walked bare foot to feel the sand beneath my feet as the tide rolled in and out, smell the air, and picked up shells. Growing up the shells were plentiful and vast, but not today. I walked by broken shells, lots of jelly fish that washed up to shore and a variety of leafy weeds that I did not recognize. 

After a few days, I began to think about the fragments of shells on the beach and how it might relate to the circumstances of today. Did it really matter if the shell was broken? Could I take some home and enjoy it just as much? My answer was YES. 

They have character; a story that made them unique and so my collection began. As you read about the people who are broken, maybe because of circumstances beyond their control, reach out and start your collection of supporting, lifting, and healing. How? In anyway that you can. Things change, no more banana bread, perfect shells, and summers at the beach with my grandparents, but fond memories and hope that life will return to a better state sometime soon. We can all make a difference and we should. 

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