By Deborah DiVencenzo
A few weeks ago I was walking along the Gulf Coast with my daughter. So many thoughts came to my mind. The water is truly magnificent in its ability to soothe an unsettled soul.
It’s not just the rhythmic and melodious sound of the waves crashing on the shore or the dazzling vision of the sun slowly melting into the water on the horizon, but the sheer magnitude of all that turquoise-colored water is remarkable at putting your thoughts into perspective.
The few weeks before had been terribly difficult for our family as my dad, my kids’ Papa, had just passed away unexpectedly. Having lost my mom a few years ago, my feelings of loss were greatly magnified and sometimes overwhelming.
How were we going to go forward without these two people who were like the sun and the moon to us? Their love, unfailingly sound advice and guidance always just a visit or a phone call away. We thought we had more time, and then we didn’t.
Maybe the Gulf had some answers, I hoped. The healing powers of that gigantic pool of saltwater would make it better. It had to. The lure of the water is unmistakable. Mom and Dad loved going to the beach – lake or ocean, and they passed that love down to me, my five siblings and to their 14 grandchildren. It was the perfect place to go to ease my grieving heart.
My daughter and I walked along the sandy, shell-covered and rocky shore, often searching for a beautiful souvenir from Mother Nature or a sign from Dad that he was reunited with Mom. The perfect shell for our collection. For us perfect does not mean unmarred or faultless. It means something broken or whole that we find beautiful.
In our family we treasure different. We know that different is special and interesting, a lesson we learn nearly every day from my son, her brother, who is differently abled, unique and extraordinary.
As we walked, we talked, creating memories and sharing thoughts. By the end of the week we had a collection of beautiful and unique shells and I had a collection of thoughts to share with her about how seashells have so many similarities to us. Here are a few:
• Seashells come in a plethora of shapes, colors and sizes and they all live together in whatever body of water they came from. When they wash onto the shore, whatever shape, color and size they are does not matter.
• Even though they may be broken, they can still be strong enough to survive the storm.
• Creases, wrinkles, holes and bumps can still make something beautiful and unique.
• Sometimes the animal that grew the shell, like a crab, must leave its home or safe place to grow or to survive.
• Just because a shell is beautiful on the outside doesn’t always make it beautiful on the inside and conversely, shells that may be plain on the outside are often beautiful from within.
• And last (from a few broken shells that looked like wings), angels are everywhere watching over us.
We didn’t find those angel wings until our last day there. Maybe it was just a broken shell, but I believe it was a gift from above as well as a gift from the sea.
Deborah DiVencenzo, of Clarence, found healing on a trip to the Gulf Coast.