Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Real Message in a Bottle

Yesterday, a message in a bottle arrived in my mailbox (complete with postage, sand and shells from the beach, and a scroll).  Apparently, you can send anything in the mail.  

I have the world's greatest sister.  Every year, her family sends us a "message in a bottle" (in a recycled plastic bottle!) from their beach vacation spot.  Her boys fill the bottle with tiny shells, warm sand, and a handwritten note from the sea.  When my girls pull it from the mailbox, you would think they'd just struck gold. 

This morning, my daughters fought over toys, begged to play a computer game, and cried at least twice each over some wrong done to them.  In desperation, I ushered everybody into the kitchen and dumped the message in a bottle out onto the counter.  I didn't speak.  They didn't speak.  They slowly picked up the tiny shells, began to inspect each one, and suddenly, peace like the ocean at dawn settled over the home.

Then, the questions come:  

"How do they get this way, all different and perfect?"
"Where has this shell been?"
"What lived inside of it?"
"What causes the different sizes and colors?"
"Why didn't it break when the waves crashed?" 

I suppose I learned (again) that toys and computer games that don't allow for this kind of questioning, this kind of wonder, aren't helping my children much.  It's the same story I've read all summer:  I have to get us all to places and objects that generate mystery, beauty, and awe.  That's the way to live with flair for our whole lives.  No greed, no conflict, no suffering in the presence of something small and beautiful that we can observe with wonder.


elaine laurin said...

lovely as always... how many children do you have heather, i have 2 girls grown now, but always a delight to have them around

LivewithFlair said...

2 little ones--5 and 8. I love the pictures of you and your family on GiST. Thanks for your constant affirmation in my life!

MargoPego said...

Hi! Michelle Knowles from GiST here. What a great idea, getting a message in a bottle! I love that your sister does this, & it's something I want to try. :D

Meg McGinty said...

Blue Like Jazz totally made it clear to me that a lot of people use technology to supplement their heart's need for awe and wonder. Donald Miller thinks the only thing that can truly satisfy the heart's need for wonder is worship and accepting God's love

iosif said...

Conecting in such special ways with the love ones keeps you happy!