Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beautiful broken shell

I had decided not to write anymore about the murder that occurred of my friend's sister. But I felt that I had to say that the murder was drug-related. I don't know any details other than the lovely, gentle woman who was killed had a history of substance abuse.

I felt anger as I thought about how many lives drugs have taken. And how many individuals that we pass on the street, rub shoulders with in stores, or who live in our neighborhoods are cold-blooded killers. It sends a chill through me.

So I'm going to share a reading from the memorial service yesterday. It helped quiet me and gave me some peace.

"It is low tide and I watch, mesmerized, as the
ocean rises slowly...curls... and then spills its
white-laced foam onto the shore.

I walk by a broken scallop shell...
and leave it to search for
more perfect ones.

But then I stop...
go back...and pick up
the broken shell. I realize
that this shell is me
with my broken heart.

This shell is people who are hurting...
people who have lost loved ones...
people who are frightened or alone...
people with unfulfilled dreams.

Broken shells teach us not to
look at our imperfections... but to look
at the beauty... the great beauty...
of what is left.

I watch the rolling surf
toss new shells onto the shore,
and I am reminded of the many times
that I, too, have been tossed
by the storms of life and worn down
by the sands of time, just like
my beautiful broken shell.
But I am reminded that broken
shells don't stand alone.

Help me to remain childlike in my appreciation for life.
Please slow me down...that I may always see
the extraordinary in the ordinary.
That I may always wonder at the shell in the sand..
the dawn of a new day...the beauty of a flower..
the blessing of a friend...the love of a child.
In my brokenness, may I never take life so seriously
that I forget to laugh along the way.
May I always take the time to watch a kite dance in the sky...
to sing...to pick daisies...to love...to take risks...
to believe in my dreams."
From My Beautiful Broken Shell by Carol Hamlet Adams

That's all that I have today.


  1. Well, you got me choked up. I have a memorial to go to on Friday. It is another loss which is a direct result of alcoholism. Our sobriety is truely a gift...as are the broken shells. Thanks for a very touching post Syd.

  2. thanks for reminding us once again of life's simple pleasures, gifts that we are all capable of forgetting about, how sweet, yet short, life can be.
    Thanks and bless You

  3. Just wanted to add to the chorus of "Thank you"

  4. Beautiful writing. Syd, as someone who has been touched in the most horrible way imagineable by murder, I am so sad for you. I 39years later still grapple with putting it away and leaving it there. It's the brutality of murder that is hard for me to accept. You are right about being out and amongst us. No one would have ever told you my father had it in him. Quite the opposite. But that is the ugly side of what alcohol can do.

    My heart goes out to you in this time. Be strong for the memory of her.

  5. reminders are always welcome.

  6. Since I've been "home schooled" in the carnage of drugs/alcohol, I find myself reading between the lines of news stories.
    Often, my gut will tell me "there were drugs involved here."

    I think the awareness is a good thing. I have been jarred out of complacency, and only then do things change.

    This poem is absolutely beautiful.

  7. Man, that was beautiful, Syd.

    Sending you love and sympathy.


  8. I'm heading to the Outer Banks tomorrow with my two boys. I am going to pick a shell and remember, then replace it back on the beach so others can remember too. Thanks, Syd, for the reminder to be HERE, NOW.


  9. it is crazy how many are lost to the drugs and alcohol...and then the many many lives that are affected because of it.

  10. Wow, that is beautiful. Believe it or not, months ago I, too was on a beach, searching for a perfect shell when I picked one up and realized it was broken. God told me to keep it as a reminder of where I was...broken. He is awesome!!

  11. Wow - lovely poem...

    This whole deal (life) is bigger than I can figure out. It makes no sense why people do the evil things they do or take a stand for evil. I simply have to give this up. I have my sponsor's permission to dislike it (if that's worth anything...).

    As best I can I can figure, I can get to a place of neutrality where it doesn't affect me or those I know. If evil does affect me or those around me, I have to go through a process to get back to some sort of perspective.

    ...and, I can hate that as well...

    Blessings on you and yours...

  12. I'm glad you went ahead and posted again about the murder. It gave you the opportunity to share that beautiful reading.


  13. That was beautiful Syd and very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  14. So sad. I think so much of the violence in the world can ultimately be traced back to drugs. Such a beautiful reading.

  15. Beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing dear friend.

    I've been on the other end of the violence with drugs and alcohol. I know all too easily how the tide changes. There isn't a day I'm not thankful I'm here. I never forget I almost wasn't.

    My heart goes out to you and your wife, for the friend who was lost. (Hugs)Indigo

  16. Thanks for sharing that Syd, it was wonderful!

  17. Syd, you wrote:
    "That's all that I have today."

    You have a LOT for today, Syd. Thank you for the "copy-worthy" Carol Adams poem.

  18. I could almost smell the ocean and feel the coolness of the water. Thanks for the poem.

  19. Sorry to hear of your loss. A friend of my grandmothers told me just remember without death there is no life. Once she told me this it all made sense to me, but to die so young is hard.
    Take Care,

  20. I collect shells and my favorite one is broken...I stepped on it. Its the only one I leave out on my shelf. I will never look at it quite the same after reading this, now I know why I kept it all these years.


  21. This poem was very moving, it brought tears to my eyes. YES, YES, YES....we all become broken at some point in time, life is unpredictable and perfect doesn't exists, but it doesn't mean we just give up. Live for today, love, accept and appreciate ours and others brokenness, everyday, that's very important. We are all unique in our experiences but feelings are universal, we all have them. How we learn to deal with our feelings and finding appropriate responses to them, that don't harm others, is a growing experience. Having patience and forgiveness of ourselves in this process is a must.Thank you for the BEAUTIFUL poem. I love this metaphor, a wonderful perspective to keep.


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