In 1906 an Earthquake destroyed many of the buildings in Mendocino County in Northern California. One of those hardest hit was Fort Bragg, Ca. When the townspeople began rebuilding they chose to dump the enormous piles of rubble onto the beach. For the next sixty years, the beaches around Fort Bragg remained a dumping ground. The beach became an ugly wasteland of trash and debris. Bags of trash, old appliances even entire cars were tossed onto the beach. The beach was now no more than a foul-smelling dumpster. Finally, in the late 60’s, the dump site was moved away from the beach and cleanup projects began. Metal, concrete, and plastics were hauled away to a new dump site, anything that could be moved away was moved.
Once everything else was hauled away, all that remained was 60 years worth of broken glass. Coke bottles, car windshields and every other stray piece of glass tossed onto the beach had been left behind. Surprisingly though, after years of being tossed by the waves and storms of the ocean, the glass had been reshaped. Instead of large shards of sharp glass that would no doubt frighten off the most adventurous beach-goer, what remained of the glass was small, round and smooth. This beach, once foul and ugly with refuse, now beautifully glistens with smooth, colorful glass.
Sometimes life is ugly. Sometimes it downright stinks. I know because I have been there. I comforted a wife for nearly ten years who could not have a child. Then after the miracle of two children, I was once again tossed onto the rocky shoreline. I stood at the bed of my one-month-old son and told a doctor it was okay to take him off of life support. Life is difficult. It can beat you down and leave you feeling like nothing more than broken glass and refuse in the sand.
What we don’t know is we are being reshaped. Every wave that crashes squarely on my shoulder, every storm that rocks my idyllic shoreline are actually the hands of a craftsmen doing what only he can do. Turning my ugly mess of a life into something beautiful.
Sometimes life is beautiful, even when it stinks.