THE BOAT-SHAPED SHELL

by BCBP Editor

By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila

During my several-months recovery from a recent bout of hypersensitive airways, my doctor prescribed sea-breeze therapy, for me to spend time, at least three to four days a month, on the seashore breathing in the therapeutic sea air. I have discovered many insights about life during my weekends at the seashore.
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As I was walking along the sandy beach one early morning dawning, a small boat-shaped shell spoke to me as it floated on the incoming tide. I picked it up and have it near me as I write. It is a smallish shell, oval and rounded on its bottom, open the length of its top, with its sides gently curving inwards toward its center.

It is shaped like a miniature boat or canoe or banca. It also reminds me of an infant’s cradle used by American Indian tribes long ago.

This little boat-shaped shell tells me that there will always be tides in my life, highs and lows, joys and sorrows, good health and not-so-good health. These tides and their waves ebb and surge, but they can always bring new experiences to our lives if we learn to “go with the flow”.

That’s what this little shell was doing, going with the flow of the tide. And every movement of the water smoothed its surface so that it became better, smoother and more boat-like.

What an inspiring message! Each and every person, event, thought and conversation, if I “go with the flow”, has the ability to help me become a better person, more like the person God wants me to be. I may think I am just ordinary, like the little boat-shaped shell, but to someone else, I may be special, my life may even have a message for them.

My little boat-shaped shell, I am sure, had seen many people pass it by and ignore it. Yet when I stopped to look at it, pick it up and hold it in my hand, it became more than just an ordinary shell. It had a message for me. Now I ask myself: what is the message others see in me?

I am going to mount my shell in a little frame and keep it to remind me of its meaning and message. I want to name it but am waiting for it to reveal its name to me. Until then, it is my “far-from ordinary boat-shaped shell.”

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