Every year for Spring Break, my family and I make the trek down to Florida to enjoy some fun in the sun. We spend most of our time at Solivita, a 55+ community where my in-laws spend the winter. This community is much like a resort and is located close to Orlando, so the majority of our time is spent in the middle of the state. However, it would be nigh unto sinful to get so close to the ocean and not make a trip to see it, so we always take one day and drive to Cocoa Beach to play in the sand and the surf.
One of our favorite things to do while at the beach is to walk along where the ocean meets the sand hunting for shells. We don’t arrive at the beach until late morning, thus most of the “good shells” have been taken by the time we begin our search. But, search we do, and inevitably, we discover some shell or fragment that catches our eye. We pick it up and it spurs us on in our quest for further hidden treasures.
As we made our way up and down the beach this year a flash of white caught my eye as a wave rolled in over my feet. As the water streamed back into the ocean, I stopped the white object between my feet. I reached down and picked up a bright white shell. It was extremely thin and had a massive chunk broken out of the middle. I couldn’t stop looking at it. Normally, I would see the fragment missing from the shell and would toss it back into the ocean. Instead, I carried this delicate shell in my left hand all the way to the pier and then back to our spot on the beach.
I couldn’t stop thinking about that white shell. As we walked, I continued to open my hand and look at that little shell. It was so beautiful to my eye, but it was broken. Why would I keep it? What would I possibly do with a broken shell? All at once it hit me; all of the shells we had collected were broken. In fact, every shell I had ever collected was broken. Before a shell finds its way to the beach, and subsequently to our collections, it serves as the protective covering for an animal. The shell is actually a part of the animal’s body. The shell is empty and available for us to take home because the animal inside has died and either rotted away or been eaten by another animal. Every shell is broken.
Just because something appears to be broken doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful. Just because something is broken doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value or worth. Just because something is broken doesn’t mean it can’t serve a purpose. Sometimes it is the fact that something is broken that makes it beautiful, valuable, and useful to us. If those shells on the beach still had animals inside, there is no way most of us would pocket them to take them home to display. In some cases, it is the brokenness that makes them beautiful.
Each of us are broken in some way. Some may hide their brokenness better than others, but each of us holds failure, loss, anxiety, and hurt in our hearts. We all have moments when we feel like that white shell spinning in the tide. We are caught in the current, brokenness on full display, wondering if we have any hope for the future. That’s the beauty of the resurrection. Through His death, Christ took our brokenness upon Himself bringing about our salvation. Through His resurrection, He conquered death providing us with the hope of new life. Through Christ, our brokenness provides a means of displaying His greatness and strength. Through Christ, our brokenness becomes beautiful.