One of my favorite things to do is beachcombing. I find it very relaxing and mind clearing. It amazes me to discover the overlooked and often passed over shells and stones. With a little focus, my eye soon uncovers hidden mystery and beauty amongst the sandy shore. As I run my hands over and through the sand my eye searches for undiscovered beauty. My mind often wonders as it is set free to sort thoughts as the sand and stones sift through my fingers. This place of peaceful quiet often turns to prayer.
I have to think that something within me has been wired to enjoy this process. Maybe it’s my connectedness heightened by the strength developer. Seeing the small pieces of a larger whole. I find that I look forward to this hunt because of the anticipation of discovering some bit of unexpected goodness. Each one unique in its own way. Many do not find any enjoyment out of this activity at all. Its pace is slow and intentional. Quiet and still. One of my daughters does, and we will often pull agates from our pockets or cool shells collected on a recent stroll.
Whatever this is within me also seems to transfer into interaction with others. Much like my family’s chiding for my penchant to hunt for beach treasure I also get razzed by others for my tendency to seek out the hidden treasure of others’ stories. I have fine-tuned my eyes to see the hidden beauty of the person in front of me and have often been brought joy in uncovering someone’s unique story. I have done this often enough that I often anticipate this possibility with joy. It involves entering into situations open-handed and being present enough to see the person before me. To be engaged enough to heed the nudge to risk interaction. It is so worth it. It has also afforded me the opportunity to encourage someone to see the beauty I see in their story. The way life challenges can sometimes soften and polish us or break us in beautiful new patterns as we heal from the various seasons of our lives. Much like an agate on the shore of Lake Superior you may need to flip it over, uncover it, lean in closer to see the treasure that is right in front of you.
I often tell our mentoring students that there are so many everyday heroes walking among us that I could never choose a favorite. I gather beautiful stories and the golden gems of insight, experience, wisdom, and heart and carry them with me much like the lake polished agate or ocean carried shell. There is the beauty. It might cost a little time, patience and focus but it is right there. It is a blessing to enjoy.
Over the next few weeks, I hope to share some brief glimpses of the treasures I’ve discovered.