December 22, 2014: Broken Shells

~by Paula Veloso Babadi

One December when my two eldest sons were ten and five, our family enjoyed lunch at the pastel peach home of my husband’s friend nestled right on the shores of Ponte Vedra Beach. As my young sons ran off looking for sharks’ teeth and my husband engaged in “man-talk”, I strolled the sands beyond the graceful white-paned French doors opening to the ocean.

In the midst of inhaling the crisp, salty air and reveling in the more-than-cool breeze, I felt a twinge of sadness at the broad expanse of broken shells before me. How much we human beings are like these shells – huddled together, yet separate, on the canvas of creation – some shattered, some still spared disintegration -unlike those worn and broken enough to go back to the sand and some in their nascent beauty.

Amidst the miles of shoreline, there are jewels brushed and polished by the repeated breaking of waves and warmed to a glow by sunshine on clear and even cloudy days. It is the sun and the waves that unite this array, that work together to paint the landscape, that allow us to see the unique beauty of God’s creation.

That day I felt broken inside, just like the shells. But as the sun warmed my arms and I knelt to take a closer look, our wise Creator gifted me with the hope of repurpose and repair and the vision of being whole in Him.

Broken Shells

Broken shells upon the shore

washed in by gentle waves once more,

paint the sand with shattered dreams –

their beauty lost in fragments.


God’s masterpiece in the array,

amidst the broken pieces lay

too well concealed for me to see

its beauty on the canvas.


Though I am broken-pieced this day,

may healing sun and ocean spray

brush me into a form anew –

whole again

amidst the broken shells.


Paula Veloso Babadi has worked in the health care industry for over thirty five years, but her true passion is poetry. She is a member of the St. John’s Chapter of the national Catholic Writers Guild and a regular contributor to the St. Joseph’sReflections Newspaper. Growing up in England and Pensacola with her Filipino and British parents and marrying into her Iranian family, she now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, daughter and nearby three grown sons and grandchildren.

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