I love to walk on the beach looking for seashells. When I was younger, I dreamed of discovering a perfect conch or whelk. In all my days of beachcombing, however, I’ve seen mostly chipped scallops, common cockles, barnacle-infested oysters, and the pieces of once-whole whelks. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to appreciate the small, smooth pieces that roll in with the waves. The purple and cream ones are my favorite, but there are also lovely pinks, browns, blacks, and even iridescent golds. Worn by tides and time, they are not the vessels they once were. Instead, they have become beautiful in a new way.
Like those shells I am not now what I once was. Aging, illnesses, and extensive dental surgery have changed my physical appearance. Yet, because of God’s abiding love and guidance, I still have value and beauty. My earthen vessel may not be as young as it once was, but I take comfort in knowing that I am an ever-evolving creation. As today’s reading reminds us, “We have this treasure in clay pots so that the awesome power belongs to God and doesn’t come from us” (2 Cor. 4:7, CEB). No matter our physical changes, our actions can speak of God’s power and renewing presence in our lives.