I took a spirit day last week. This is a new concept for me, and it just means that I’ve been working pretty much 24/7 over the past few months and needed a break! One of my oldest, dearest friends called out of the blue and invited me to a “pajama party” at her condo on the beach. We had an absolute blast! We talked, laughed, ate out, shopped a little, and took a sunset stroll by the water. The next morning we went back to the beach with our coffee and croissants and collected shells to remind us of the fun we’d had.
I love collecting shells. I have always tried to find the “most perfect” specimen! My friend introduced me to a different concept, gleaned from a simple little book called My Beautiful Broken Shell by Carol Hamblet Adams and illustrated with paintings by D. Morgan. The point of the story is that no one is perfect. Life has a way of chipping away at our shells in ways both large and small. When you compare the perfect, blemish-free shell to the cracked, broken shell, you suddenly realize that flaws can be quite beautiful in their own right!
Life certainly has a way of breaking our shells. A diagnosis of Parkinson’s or other chronic progressive disorders would cause a very large crack! This little book of hope and thanksgiving reminded me of my friends with PD, Multiple Sclerosis, their caregivers, and all who love them. To quote the author, it reminded me that:
“Broken shells teach us not to look at our imperfections…but to look at the beauty…the great beauty…of what is left.”
The broken shells I collected during our walk are now contained and displayed in a beloved crystal bowl. I treasure them as much — if not more — than the unblemished shells I collected before I learned to value the loveliness of their imperfection!
Broken But Beautiful was first published by the author as a guest post on the Parkinson’s Assistance, Network, Directory, and Alliance blog page. Text and illustrations have been edited prior to posting on Cyndee’s Bowen Speech Blog.
Cynthia Williams Bowen, MS, CCC-SLP owns Bowen Speech-Language Therapy, LLC in Clearwater, FL. Cyndee provides quality, creative, collaborative treatment to adults and adolescents with communication, swallowing, Parkinson’s, and related disorders.