I took off for the weekend last Thursday to get away with my friends. Our friendship spans three states and yet once a year we all converge in one location, the Outer Banks. This year marked our 10 year anniversary of our girlfriends get-a-way to our favorite spot. No family, no work, no obligations, just friends. We ate, we laughed till it hurt, we shopped, we danced, we cried, we soaked up the sun, and we laughed some more.
On Friday morning I set out for an early morning run along the beach. As I ran, I thought of my friends. We met 15 years ago in Pharmacy School and became instant friends. On any given trip there are five or six of us present. As I ran, I thought about how similar yet completely different we all are in our chosen career paths and in our personalities. In fact, we couldn’t be more different. Our group includes a few community pharmacists, a college professor, a long term care specialist, a professional speaker, and an operations manager for a large corporation.
As I ran the lyrics to a Jimmy Buffet song filled my mind…..”It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same…” I turn and begin to walk back towards the house. I reflect on the words “changes in latitudes” as I search for shells for my kids. Since we last met, we all have had some type of changes in latitudes. My friends and I have changed careers, been downsized, felt the bitter sting of betrayal, lost family members, supported loved ones battling cancer, and experienced the heart break of a best friend who died too young. We all struggle with maintaining balance in our life as a wife, a mother, pharmacist, a room mom, soccer mom, etc. We are completely different yet we all experience the same struggles.
I bend down, spotting the perfect sea shell. It is large and striated in color, but when I pick it up it is broken. I keep it anyway. Another shell appears to be whole, but is broken. I keep it also. And another sea shell wedged further in the sand. Certainly because it is hiding deeper in the sand, it is in tact. Nope, it is broken too. I find broken shells for all my friends. We couldn’t be more similar. We are all broken.
In my hands I hold one whole sea shell and five broken shells. I sit on the sand, the roar of the ocean is almost deafening. The salt air mix with my tears and I can taste them on my lips. I begin to pray for my friends. “Lord, we are all broken. We are like these beautiful shells, which appear to be whole and yet are broken. Lord, only you can make us whole again. God, make us whole again. Amen.”
“I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins…declares the Lord, who will do these things.” Amos 9:11
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each others faith.” -Romans 1:12