Each summer I read "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She uses a collection of shells to represent the stages of life and the one I'm thinking about this morning is the oyster shell. About it she says: they are common, no two are alike as they each grow and adapt as each needs, and they always look as if they are still growing. She compares it to a family home in the middle years, "It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations and, in it's living state - firmly imbedded on its rock."
The first time I read that it hit me with such truth as we were in those growing years of expanding and filling up every inch of space we could find. Where encumbrances attached themselves to us exponentially and bonds tying us to each other and to the family formed, and strengthened, on a daily basis.
By this time next week both our sons will be living in new homes. New to them. A bungalow in downtown Atlanta on a tree filled street and a post WWII home in a small southern town. The beginnings of two new oyster shells. They are accumulating and arranging and attaching.
Lindbergh goes on to say that other shells may be beautiful, but that's not a comment often made about the oyster shell. However, she points out, it's not supposed to be appreciated for it's beauty, but for its usefulness.
And, Lord knows, we've sure used ours. Now, I need to read and see what she thinks about life after the oyster shell, who ever thought we'd get past it!