Lat week I took something of a personal spring break as I traveled to Florida to visit with family for a couple of days. I enjoyed good time with my Mom, pleasant visits with my brothers and their families, and, of course, some time at the beach.
Walking the beach was something of a trip down memory lane. I couldn't help but smile as parents tried to keep-up with umbrellas, small children, and toys washed-over by unexpected waves. Memory lane was a bit longer than anticipated as I found myself thinking about my trips up and down the beach searching for shells.
My goal was always to fill the brightly colored pail, or my bathing suit pocket, or my Mom's hands with a collection of colorful, beautiful, perfectly-shaped shells. To make it into my collection they had to be worthy of an encyclopedia photograph! No imperfections, chipped edges, or faded color made the cut.
This trip, though, I found my attention drawn to a large chunk of a sand dollar and the curved remnant of a conch shell. Like all sea shells, these had already out-lived their usefulness to their original inhabitants before being violently being raked across the reef and dumped on shore. Yet, as I looked them over I saw beauty in brokenness and value in what had been discarded. Memories help us cherish what once was and give us hope for what yet be.