Inspirational Mess

Broken Jar Cape May Rocks Inspirational Mess KellySchwarkPlease allow me to introduce you to my Little Inspirational Mess of the week. Little Inspirational Mess, please meet my readers. I think you’ll get along very well. Why? Because life is sometimes messy, and it’s helpful to slow down long enough to see the beauty of a momentary mess.

What a Mess.

Rocks. Broken glass. Pieces of seashells. They scattered everywhere. What first started off as a quick and simple task of dusting off a bookshelf, then resulted in me on my hands and knees trying to salvage a few bits from the mess. Deliberately looking where my hands were, or where I moved my body, I had to focus on what I was doing to keep myself from getting small splinters of glass.

I think I heard one of you just ask, “Wouldn’t it be easier just to sweep it up, and toss it all out?” Yes. Yes, it would.

“Why would you have a great big jar of rocks on your bookcase anyway? Bookshelves are for holding, well… books. They are meant for stories, not stones.” Ahh… now we’re getting there.

Stones are Stories

Around my home are jars of all sizes filled with stones. Most of them, my daughter and I have filled with rocks from one of our favorite beaches, Sunset Beach, of the small seaside town of Cape May, New Jersey. I’ve written before about the importance and significance of this quaint town, but at this particular beach, smooth, rounded pebbles line the shore instead of soft fine sand.

Planting myself in the midst of these rocks every time I’m there, I take off my shoes and dig my feet under the stones. I listen to the waves lap the shoreline, and I run my hands through the stones all around me to feel their roundness. This is my routine. I pick up one single stone and hold it in my hand, getting lost in thought.

The little stone in the palm of my hand wasn’t always so small nor was it so smooth. It came from somewhere else and was broken off under pressure or by a forceful blow. When it first separated, it was jagged and rough, but in the water, it would not stay that way forever. Sharp edges would be tumbled smooth as it traveled along the water’s current. The motion, the movement after the separation, the bumping and tumbling along is what eventually started to smooth out the surface of the tiny little stone.

I liked that thought as I found myself tumbling around after my own separation from a different life.

Inspiration in the Mess

As much as I love having these jars all around me, there has been one tiny thing that has made me feel bad about keeping them in jars. I stopped their journey the moment I placed them behind glass. They are inspirational to me, but they could not keep tumbling or changing form. I stopped them from moving. “Aww… poor rocks.” I know, right?

Apparently, the biggest, and largest jar has been planning a coup. They must’ve laid out a plan, waiting for the moment I’d dust. (Little did they know that I do this much less than I should.) When the moment finally came, I bumped into the jar a little too hard and set them into motion once again. Crash. Shattering of glass. Scattering of small rounded stones.

Crash. Shattering of glass. Scattering of small rounded stones.

Carefully, I plucked out a few small round ones, placing them again into a smaller jar. The rest were too easily surrounded by small pieces of shattered glass, so I grabbed the dustpan and swept them up. These were the ones who were not yet done changing. They were headed somewhere new, and they were ready to keep going on their journey.

Farewell Stones.

Thank you, you dear little rocks, for letting me be a part of your journey for a brief moment in your long, long, history that will stretch much longer than my life here on earth. It was fun while it lasted, and it was tedious to clean up after the shattering, but you’re headed somewhere new. Thank you for the reminder that I am too.

*I posted this image on Instagram moments after the shattering to remember the flood of thoughts I had about these lovely rocks. 

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