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Sea Shells by Connie Mason Michaelis

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging

I recently had some time in Florida doing my favorite thing. I was walking the beaches, picking up shells. Captiva Island is known for some of the best shelling in North America. The varieties are endless and there are miles and miles of white beaches to explore. It is the ultimate treasure hunt. The interesting part of shell collecting is that you pick dozens of them up only to discover they look perfect from the top but underneath they are broken or have missing pieces. They look perfect nestled in the sand, but on closer inspection they are flawed. I’ve picked up many starfish only to discover they were missing an appendage. As I was sorting my shells and culling out the broken ones I had an aha moment: the shells became a metaphor for life.

We are like shells, and most of us are chipped and broken, and some are missing a few appendages. Like the shells, we might look perfect until you take a closer look. Mature shells have weathered many storms. It takes years for marine critters to create their ocean castles. The more calcium they exude the larger and more amazing they become. Every species creates its unique designer abode. My realization was that mature humans are just like that. We may end up broken and chipped but we are still treasures! Many seniors may feel discarded and washed up on the beaches of life, but they are magnificent treasures! Suddenly I was more interested in how beautiful the discard pile was. At that moment, I gathered up the broken ones to carry home to remind me of this lesson. Our Elders should be treated with the honor and respect they deserve, like broken shells; they have their own beauty.

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