Friday, August 29, 2014

Sea glass

On my desk is a small brandy snifter that contains my entire collection of sea glass, a few sharks’ teeth, and some heart-shaped stones that my grandchildren gave me. The entire collection of sea glass is pitiful, the net result of one day last year that I spent walking on the shore of the little Chesapeake Bay community where my grandfather had a house when I was young. Today I poured out the contents of the snifter and studied the pieces of glass. My heart feels a little empty, for it’s nearly September and only once this summer have I briefly walked in the sand and put my toes in the Bay. In the palm of my hand I can hold the Bay. If only the sea glass had the scent of the salty air, maybe sprinkled with a touch of Old Bay Seasoning.

Bottles were once functional—they contained medicine, beer, or other necessities—then they were broken into shards, discarded as trash, and thrown into the Bay. Time and the natural rhythm of the water and the friction of the sand honed these shards of glass into something beautiful, each piece unique. Once trash, sea glass is now collected and admired for its many variations, soft color, and texture.

Funny how that works—only time and surrender to the forces of nature can transform these jagged shards into small pieces of pastel light that fit in the palm of my hand. And likewise my broken life is renewed, honed into something new, something I did not expect or even want. I wanted to be functional in the traditional way—a wife and mother. I wanted to be a whole shiny bottle, no chips, no broken shards. But the Lord’s plan called for me to be broken, at first ugly and jagged. And God continues to reshape me. Just like the sea glass, tossed in the salty water, rolling with the tides. I simplify my life, carve it down, smooth the jagged edges. Simplify so my main focus is something more beautiful—God, growing in faith, and finding the peace that true and simple faith brings to me.

God knows my past, everything I know, feel, and remember. Only He knows my future. He will continue to hone me. I must trust that He will create something beautiful, something I never imagined. I wanted to be a bottle but He is making me sea glass.