Friday, July 29, 2011

In search of shells…that’s part of what this family’s vacation was about.
Many years ago I had invented a game of finding shells for the grandkids while at the beach.

Are you a “Shell Seeker?” Our family is…..

It was a hot hot Sunday and our family was headed to Edisto Island, SC.
This was going to be a brand new adventure to an unfamiliar beach with the promise of new treasure to be found washed in by the waves and tide.
As a family we had not taken our annual beach trip in several years.
One of the first questions the grandchildren asked was would we have our usual shell contest? Of course the answer was yes. This had been a tradition that was started when the oldest were pre-schoolers and the tradition was carried on each year. Our week at the beach was highlighted with a display of all of the treasures the children had collected.
Now, you must understand as the children grew older this shell seeking really became a contest for who could find the most, the biggest, the smallest, and the most unusual. The children guarded their treasures with fierce competition and there was always a battle over who put their shells where. This was remedied by providing each child with a special bucket or bag to hold their shells.

Usually the shell seekers were given categories for the competition of gathering shells.
On the final day of the week much time was spent by the children doing one last search of the beach for that one special shell which was yet to be found. The shells were washed for the display and arranged in categories. As the grand’s became older this became an important aspect of the week. There were oh so many shells the children had on display for the adults to look at. There were always the NC clam shells which were always a favorite of the littlest ones. There were the beautiful colors of orange, brown, pink and dark burgundy of the scallops. There were tiny tiny examples and large examples of each shell found. We all got into shell finding as we walked the beach with eyes always to the sand to see what the ocean had washed up for us to find. A treasure… a reminder of the Creator and of life. The life of a shell which was found in the smallest one or in the larger ones. All a part of creation that would bring joy to the finder.

This year as we traveled through the salt marshes on our approach to Edisto Island, SC I had a new thought about the shells that they would find and about the shell seekers. This year, as they enjoyed seeking shells, they would need to think about why, out of all the shells they had collected that week, just one of them was special. They then would have to write on an index card, or tell a parent to write, why their shell was so special. This was something new and I just was not so sure how receptive the grand’s would be.

On the evening chosen, the shell seekers would present their treasure from the sea with their own feeling as to why that shell was so special. There was much suspense and anticipation as each child presented and shared their thoughts. The youngest wrote, “My shell is special because I like the color and I love it”. One of the older grand’s wrote, “This shell is special because I think that it can resemble a person. On the outside it has a lot of barnacles and it’s rough and not a pretty color. But when you turn the shell over and look on the inside it looks iridescent. When you put it in the light it shows the colors of the rainbow. This is a lot like a person because we are not all beautiful on the outside but we are all beautiful on the inside. I think that this is how God wants us to be.”

I think that this sums up what the shell seekers found. Are you a “Seeker of Shells,” looking for beauty in each person?


  1. What a great story. And what a tender spirit the oldest grand has. Thanks for sharing and reminding us of this truth.

  2. Lovely post, Sally! I am a true shell seeker and will comb the shore for hours looking for the prettiest ones. Now, I'll be reminded to carry that over into my daily life and look for the beauty within.