Our family has always had a fascination with sea glass. Though we spend more time in the mountains, and I’ve never been a beach person, we love walking along the shoreline, searching for brightly colored pieces of time. It’s a peaceful, calming act in a world of noise and chaos. That was how we spent the last day of our vacation, and it was the perfect ending to an adventurous week!
My sister-in-law makes amazing jewelry, pictures, and other items from sea glass, so we’re always on the hunt for unique pieces and colors. Not to mention, the girls and I love sea glass earrings and necklaces!
Besides the beauty of the glass and serenity of the hunt for them, I think there are some lessons to be learned from these small fragments of glass that would serve us all well.
Smoothed and Polished by “Hand”
We often hear the phrase, “man vs nature,” but sea glass is the perfect example of how nature takes something from man and does something beautiful with it, rather than the other way around. Throwing bottles and other pieces of glass into the ocean is, of course, a cause of water pollution, but a good amount of sea glass comes from shipwrecks from long ago. Though some comes from pottery, most sea glass comes from bottles, and those broken shards and slivers of pottery and bottles tell quite a story.
Yes, the original glass came from humans and entered the oceans by human hands or human-involved tragedies, but the sea glass came through the careful molding, sanding, and polishing by the hands of God. Each individual piece is tumbled and ground by the surf and the sand and everything with which it comes into contact. Every piece is smoothed, rounded, and polished by the weather, the waves, and the water it flows through. Each one is handled by God, refined by His nature.
Each of us is created through the actions of humans with the aid of God. We are born from a man and woman, and those people mold and shape us as do all the people with whom we come into contact. Experiences, places, and events both tumble and ground us. Finding inner peace and connecting with our spirituality smooths, rounds, and polishes us. Like the glass and pottery we find in the sea, we are molded by the hand of God. “can I not do to you what this potter does? Yahweh demands. Yes, like clay in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine” (Jeremiah 18:6).
Before I Formed You
Common sea glass colors are Kelly green, brown, white, and clear, while less common colors are jade, amber, and light blue. Rare glass is light green, purple, or aqua, while extremely rare glass is grey, pink, yellow, red, as well as black and orange – the rarest colors of all.
These colors tell the history of the glass. Kelly green and brown typically come from beer, soda, and other beverage bottles. Light green comes from the early soda bottles of the 1900s. Aqua comes from antique Mason jars, and red often comes from old nautical lights. Much of the orange glass dates back to Spanish bottles used in the late 1800s! To gaze upon a piece of sea glass is to glimpse into its past, but we know little of the story of that individual piece of glass.
Identifying sea glass is a little like identifying one’s genealogy. Where did her blue eyes come from or her red hair? Who in the family has those same dimples, those wide shoulders, or that neck-craning height? These traits tell us something about that person’s past but nothing about her as a person.
We all came from our parents and our ancestors before them, but like the sea glass that rides upon the waves to the shore, there is much more to our stories. The Lord says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:4). We are on this earth for but a short time, but we cane from a before and will go on to an after. Our traits reveal just the surface of whom we are, but we are more than our color and our shape. We are people with a history, a story, a beginning that happened long before we were tumbled and ground and smoothed and polsihed. We can’t look at someone and know everything that makes them special. We need to do a little research, get to know them, and love them for–or in spite of– their past.
Held up to the Light
Here’s one of the coolest things about sea glass. Holding it up to the light reveals its innermost secrets. If you hold black sea glass up to the sunlight, you will see that it is actually a deep, olive-green. This glass usually dates back to the 1500s and was used for transporting alcohol and medicines across the oceans.
It makes me wonder what else we see when we hold things up to the light? Does the light reveal secrets of our pasts, clues to the people we are inside, or insights to our unique compositions? It can be scary to be held up to the light, but we must do more than be held up to it. We must be the light for those who are seeking in darkness. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The sun does not shine in darkness. Sea glass can’t shine without the light. We can’t shine without the light. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5-9). We all shine best when we are held up by the light of God.
More Beautiful Together
Each piece of sea glass is 100% unique. The colors, shapes, densities, and sizes are always, always different from one piece to another. No two are the same in any way. Like snowflakes, each one is entirely different from any and every other one.
Can’t we say the same about each of us?
No two people have exactly the same coloring, shape, or size. Each person has his own laugh and his own voice. While someone might have her mother’s eyes or his father’s smile, on that person, they are different. There’s some distinguishing characteristic even within shared traits.
But here’s what I find the most remarkable about sea glass: when you take all the different pieces, all the colors and shapes, all the varied backgrounds and ages, both the rough and smooth, and put them all together, you have something remarkable. You have the beauty of that creation of man and nature, thrown together to create a glass kaleidoscope that glitters and glistens in the light. The more glass you gather, the more beautiful it is. The uniqueness and diversity of each piece comes together to form a stunning combination.
Look around you. Take it all in–the colors and shapes and sizes of everyone you know, the young and old, the weathered and worn, the smooth and polished as well as the broken and jagged. We are all unique, all special, all with our own pasts and histories, all beautiful in our way; yet we are more beautiful together.
Appreciate the work of the potter, and search for the treasure within us all.
Come See Amy This Fall
September 17, 2022 – Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, PA 12 Noon-8pm
The event is a festival atmosphere featuring amazing music, Catholic and Christian vendors, the presence of Religious orders, food trucks, family and kid-friendly activities and games. Tickets available.
October 15 and 16, 2022 – St Mary’s County Fairgrounds, Leonardtown, MD
Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. All ages are welcome for a day of sun and seafood! See event website for more details.
October 29, 2022 – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD
Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. The event features live music on two stages, boat rides, retriever demonstrations, oysters and other local fare, an oyster stew competition and cooking demonstrations, along with children’s activities, oyster demonstrations, harvesting displays and Chesapeake-related documentary screenings. More details coming soon.
Write What You Know Writer’s Workshop
November 12, 2022, 10am-Noon – Leonardtown Library, Leonardtown, MD
Amy will be giving a workshop for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). She will talk about how to write a more authentic and readable novel by writing about what you know – the people, places, and events that have shaped your own life. More details coming soon.
November 19, 10am-4pm & November 20 10am-3pm – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD
Amy will be selling and signing her books at the annual event just in time for Christmas! The Festival will feature artisans from around the country selling coastal and sea-glass related jewelry, home décor, art, and more. The two-day festival ticket includes entrance to the festival, live music, and all the exhibitions and historic structures on the campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
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What I was writing about one year ago this week: Sweet and Sour – Necessary Ingredients in Life.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines was released in June of 2021. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s chapter book is The Greatest Gift, and her most recent suspense novel is Summer’s Squall.
Amy’s second book in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, was awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two, Under the Summer Moon, was released in December of 2021.
Amy’s new book, Seeking Tranquility, was released on June 15, 2022. Buy your copy now!
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021), Under the Summer Moon (2021), Seeking Tranquility (2022).