It was early morning and the boys energy was rising quicker than the sun. I went into our room to grab something and noticed my husband in peaceful slumber. I decided to change out of my pajamas and take the boys down to the beach so Matt could catch up on some much needed rest.
Walking along the shore and simply soaking up the peace the morning brings, I listened to the waves rolling in and my boys laughter as they fell into the rhythm of beach life. Luke ran up to me with a large piece of something and asked what it was. As I recognized it, fragmented childhood memories arose of walking along the shores of our favorite island with my two brothers collecting the same wonder my son was now holding it his hand. “Those are called sand dollars, Luke. There’s a beautiful legend of them, but I cannot remember all of it. When we get back to the condo I can look it up. Okay?” I described what they look like when they are whole and Luke became determined to find one or as many pieces as possible to put together.
Back at the condo, Luke gathered all his pieces and began placing them together in a circular shape. I grabbed my phone and began reading the legend:
“The legend of the Sand dollar
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus Christ
Found in this lowly shell.
If you will examine closely,
You’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.
On one side the Easter Lily,
It’s center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.
The Christmas Poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our joyous Christmas tide.
Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread good will and peace.
This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me.
To help to spread His Message
Through all eternity.”
The remainder of our vacation, Luke tried to find a whole sand dollar. The place most likely he could have found one, we weren’t able to make it to this trip. I found some in a shop and surprised him Easter morning. When we broke one open, there was one perfectly shaped “dove”. We held them in our hands and basked in the awe of how much they resembled actual doves. We then set them aside and got ready for church.
Throughout the day, I began thinking of creative ways to preserve the fragile reminders. The one was so perfect, I wanted to display it somehow. Necklace maybe? Frame it somehow? Just thinking of possible ideas was exciting me.
Later in the day, the neighborhood boys showed up at our house. It was their after Spring Break reunion. They shared vacation stories and ran around our house playing. Luke was in the kitchen and saw the doves. He picked up the “perfect” one to show his friend. I looked over and saw our perfect little dove dropping to the ground. Both wings broke at the tips. Luke was devastated.
Luke became quiet and Oliver stepped in explaining the significance of the dove. I whispered to Luke that it was okay. He nodded and then explained to his friend as well. After their friend left, I told the boys how proud I was of them of how they handled the situation. It wasn’t perfect, but they still managed to share their faith. That is what matters most, I told them.
Sitting here today after I have fully come to terms with our perfect dove being broken, I decided I’m still going to find a way to display the dove. Why? Because now there’s even more value to the dove. Think about it. That is the beauty of the gospel. That’s the beauty in spreading good will and peace to others. We have to see and accept our own broken wings to grow our faith and trust in God. And, we need to see and accept everyone else’s broken wings to share our faith and to love the way God loves us.