While my girls play on the beach, I zone out in a hunt for sea glass. You have to zone out to find it. If you’re looking to hard, you’ll miss a piece that’s right in front of you. That’s just how it works. I’ve collected a ton of it over the years, and decided this year to start collecting it in a vase. We’ll be moving soon, and I somehow doubt we’ll meander on down to the end of this street as much as we do right now.
Just as I never before thought to collect it in one place, I never thought to look for sea glass at all on our little Lake Erie beach until I was searching for something to do while my first daughter crawled around in search of bugs and rocks as a baby. She and her sister have always been able to amuse themselves with rocks, sticks, and bugs for hours. I have to admit, after snapping a few photos of them, I get a little bored waiting for them to be bored. I can’t take a nap in the sun because I have to watch them, obviously. I can’t get into a good book, because once detected they won’t let me read it.
One day, I looked down and saw a piece of bright blue sea glass. Glorified litter, let’s be honest…but some of it is really old…depending on the color. So, I drifted down the little beach and back and collected a few more pieces…thus becoming habit.
Chalk it up to one more thing I never would have stumbled upon if not for my kids. They are a constant reminder of what happens when you stop to take a look. That must be why God tells us to have a child-like faith. What a brilliant observation.
I set a goal for myself around age 13 to stop. That’s it. Just ‘stop.’ Stop and look around, stop and listen to people, stop worrying, stop over-analyzing. In my young life’s experience, I had decided that ‘grown up’ people spent too much time rushing around worrying and self criticizing to really stop and enjoy all that’s going on around them ‘right now.’
I found little by little, all the way up until now, that the more I ‘stop,’ the more I ‘go. ‘ One pinnacle ‘stop’ for me was the scale. A sophomore in high school…just starting to run track, I stepped on and saw 103. Having already witnessed those around me become consumed by the numbers on that scale, I decided to stop. I remember specifically saying to myself, “Well, I think that’s the last time I”ll do that.” And it was. Except for a few doctor’s appointments here and there, and one mistaken glance at 8 months pregnant, I stopped weighing myself.
When I drove up to the lake in high school, I decided to stop rushing up there and got off the highway one exit early to take my time and drive along the lake. Taking in the scenery…smelling the lake with my window rolled down and the radio up…no hurries…no worries. That town I drove through? I live there, now.
After taking a long break from running after competing in high school and college, I finally picked it up again and settled into a morning 2 mile run. Soon, the sunrise over the lake at the end of my run trumped any goal time I ‘had’ to achieve as motivation to lace up my running shoes each day. I stopped wearing a watch. My race time improved.
My kids are a constant motivator to stick with the ‘stop’ goal. I stopped leaving for work every day to sure I was there for them as babies, and now toddlers. It opened up an opportunity for me to volunteer to coach track and xc…and my 4 year old loves it so much she just finished her first race.
The sea glass has become a bit symbolic to me. Little reminders that all the worrying and fear mongering that the world has to offer is just not worth it. I’d much rather focus on what’s positive and fun. I tell Brianne, when she doesn’t want to go to bed, that she has a choice.
“You can choose to have a happy bedtime, and I’ll tuck you in…or you can have a sad bedtime, and I’ll set you on your bed and let you cry yourself to sleep. Either way, you’re going to bed. You pick.” It’s not hard to figure out which option she picks. Even toddlers want to choose the more enjoyable way of life when given the opportunity.
I’m blessed. Because for me, it really is that simple. I’m not naive to the entire scope, I just choose to laugh. So, it may just be a glass vase half full of sea glass…but every time I pause to look at it, I sure am grateful that I stopped to pick it up.
Happy beach combing…
“Be joyful always.” 1 Thes. 5:16