the treasure in breaking out of your shell

I was sitting on the steps outside my house, waiting for the bus yesterday afternoon. I had my dslr with me (I often take it out there and get photos of the yard and then the boy, when he gets home).

And then I spotted a little blue shape, right there in the weeds next to me.

Just a wee egg, broken out of and discarded. (There are indeed nests in the oak tree above where I was sitting. Given the color and the size, I think this is a robin's egg.)

The baby bird is safe in its nest still (or maybe even already flying around already). The shell is unnecessary, but oh, what a treasure for me to find!

I showed it to all the neighborhood kids. What a treasure to find! They asked me about the birds, Remy especially wanted to know that the baby bird was safe.  Seeing no baby bird on the ground, I assured him it probably was. He and I share this deep empathy for animals, which I nurture.

And then last night, before bed I realized that this shell is one we really all know. We all have struggled out of the darkness. We have had to kick our way through obstacles that block us. Things look bleak until we find our way out.

And then once we are free, we look back, after, and there's a blue shell, so very beautiful and broken, behind us, discarded. Many of us probably don't even see it, in our rush to fly off into the blue sky. But there it is, a treasure.

And that shell - the scars of the struggle we went through - can be a beauty in this world. Can show the way out of the darkness for others. Can beautify the world just by being. If only we notice.

 Every struggle you've ever had, every time you've broken through another painful shell, is a rebirth of you. Imagine yourself as a bird, pecking through that horrible, awful feeling shell around you. And then you're out. You triumphed!

Spread your wings and fly. But don't forget to show us that broken shell you left behind. Collect it. Name it. Beautify it. Let us study it and learn from your struggle.

Let that beauty be one of your many gifts to this world.

And if you are still in a shell right now, in a hard place, struggling to break free, know this: freedom is just within your reach. There are others who have been where you are, seek out their wisdom. Study their shells, their scars. Reach for truth and love and you will find it, for it is right here, waiting patiently.

It will be work. And painful. But growing is worth it. The treasure of leaving your shell is worth it.

The beauty is already around you, we're all just waiting for you to see it, so you can show it to the rest of us. Break out already, won't you?