conch shell

EmPulse for Week of January 24, 2011

Conch shell

Walking a winter beach is different than walking a summer beach. In summer you are basically naked, wearing less than you would ever be caught dead in anywhere else. You are also striving to promote developing skin cancer through exposure to our sun’s gamma radiation. And, you are most likely laying under an umbrella stuffing in foods that will either lead you to obesity or kill you.

Not so on a winter beach. Walking a beach in winter will find you bundled up against the brutal cold, the stinging sand as it hits your face, and the sea foam freezing as it rolls ashore. Then there’s the wind—  the tornado-coiling, hurricane-force wind. Your clothes are a skimpy barrier against its powerful penetration. But you keep moving, buffeting the elements, as if you must prevail against god of the seas and the sand! More than once you wonder, This is nuts! Why don’t I head back to the warmth of the fire and a hot cup of tea!?!

Then your eyes fall on a conch shell at your feet. The sea conch is still inside. The sea gull tracks surrounding it reveal that you have blundered into a life ‘n death battle. Their beaks are not long enough to rout-out the living creature nestled deep within the shell’s spiral; so they peck at the shells hard surface, hoping to extract their breakfast. Some shells are destroyed, sea gulls satiated. Others remain intact…, and alive.

Our daily lives are more like a winter beach than a summer beach. If we chose to lay under the sun we eventually burn to a crisp, get fat, and die. That is why life’s summers are so short. But in those more likely winters of our lives we need to adapt to the aloneness, the bitter cold, and the constant pecking of our critics. We must learn fortitude. We must force our reticent will-power to life once more, stinging sand be damned. I am not nuts! What I am committed to is worth the fight. I can do this. But you might need some help, and a change of perspective.

9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

-Psalm 42:9-11 (Christian Bible)

And please lose the hard shell exterior. It may offer protection against your assailants, but it also may dissuade your friends from coming alongside you, not to mention God.

Have a nice week,


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