This post originally appeared on Arkansas Women Bloggers website.
|The purple and white fragments were originally an tiny sand dollar |
that crumbled into pieces in the palm of my hand.
Today is Terry’s and my 40th
wedding anniversary. We’re spending it at our favorite place, Navarre Beach, Florida.
As I look back over all the years our family has come to the panhandle, it’s
the small pleasures like early morning walks and watching the children play in
the surf that come to mind.
I usually return from my
treks with several small shells in hand. I’m told the big ones end up on
sandbars farther out from shore. However, one summer, people were finding an
abundance of shells, large and small. Inspired by a showy collection a man had excavated
from an embankment nearby, I sought out the spot to hunt for my own buried
treasure. My digging turned up lots of interesting and less common specimens,
but none as nice as his. I was hopeful though, and each day, I continued my search.
|Tidal Pool Treasures on Navarre Beach|
One morning, I stopped by a tidal pool lying
directly behind our condo where I spied a small white sand dollar, glinting in
the sun. The tiny orb was no larger than a quarter and flawless. A Keeper. But where
to stash it? I had no pocket, and it would take ten minutes to carry it back to
the condo. Ten minutes I didn’t want to burn because I had bigger things on my
mind. So I dropped that perfect little sand dollar into my plastic Winn Dixie
bag and continued down the beach, intent on scoring one of those big conchs. While
I found some interesting medium-sized shells and added them to my sack, once
again, the Big One eluded me.
|To give you an idea of its size|
Hot and tired, I trudged back home where
I rinsed the shells, one by one. When I reached the bottom of the bag, there
was no sand dollar in sight. Perhaps it was caught in a fold of the sack. When I
turned the bag inside out to look, a shower of tiny granules littered the
counter. My perfect little sand dollar had been crushed by all the mediocre
shells I had piled on top of it. It was gone. I was crushed—and dogged by if-only thoughts. If only I’d worn
shorts with pockets. If only I’d carried it back to the condo. Ten minutes
didn’t seem so long, retrospectively. Every morning, I returned to the tidal
pool, hoping for another prize, but to my disappointment, none appeared.
That incident happened at least four
years ago, and I must admit, I’ve been searching for that elusive sand dollar
ever since. Along the way, I’ve spent lots of time reflecting on my experience.
Although I was surprised at the depth of my grief, I knew it reflected how
foolish I felt for not appreciating and protecting that perfect little
gift—which brings me to the point of this confession.
Sometimes a seemingly small but special
moment or opportunity surprises us in the midst of important-feeling pursuits. When
that happens, we need to recognize it and cherish the moment or pursue the
opportunity because it is precious and perhaps, singular.
This year, I’ve resolved to give up my
search for a replacement to that prize. Instead I’m attempting to be grateful
for every little offering I encounter on the beach. My prayer has become that
I’ll recognize each small blessing and when necessary, change my plans so I can
truly savor the moment. I’ve learned the hard way that once it’s gone, there
are no guarantees it will ever come again.
I wanted to show you how lovely that
little sand dollar was, so today I purchased several at a shell store for 29
cents apiece. Twenty-nine cents—I could have bought a bowlful, but I didn’t. For
how could they compare to the priceless experience of discovering that one perfect
little sand dollar? But I’m not sad anymore because I learned a valuable lesson
from my folly. And it’s past time for me to move on so I won’t miss the next
blessing that’s sure to come along. Plus, I’m an optimist, and you never know
when another little creature might wash up with the tide.
Today, I wish you many Perfect-Sand-Dollar
Moments. They are precious. Handle them with care.
despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work
Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy's Ridge 2014. All rights reserved
Labels: Arkansas Women Bloggers, Devotional, Navarre Beach, Sand Dollars