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What’s the moral?

The last time I was at the ocean, I found my first sand dollar.  My immediate reaction was—GIFT! Like a baby would  say.  Not even a gift. Just GIFT!

Last week I visited Ocean Grove, New Jersey. I just had to find another sand dollar. Had to. Had to. Had to. I spent too much time scouring the beach—unsuccessfully—when all of a sudden I was smacked by insight:

You can’t look for a gift. A gift has to be given.

Not two minutes later, a woman passed by and asked if I wanted the sand dollar she had just found. This really happened. Really and truly. As soon as I gave up grasping at gifts, I received one.

What a lovely story! It has a beginning, middle, and end. It’s rich with meaning. And it’s true. Which means that after the story was told, the truth kept on talking and… 

I held the sand dollar close to my near-sighted eyes and saw it was badly chipped and had a ragged hole through the center. If I had found it myself, I wouldn’t even have picked it up. But trying to save the warm fuzzies of meaning, I gritted my teeth and decided that I would love my gift anyway with all its imperfections.

Ahhh…The smell of an overripe metaphor left out in the sun…

So, there I am. I have just made a grumpy, cold-blooded decision to love this very imperfect gift when—almost at that very instant—a very perfect sand dollar washes up on the beach right by my toes. And I found many beautiful ones over the next few days.

What’s the moral?

That the imperfect is good enough until something better shows up? That meaning can’t be imposed on everything? That you should never look a gift sand dollar in the…um…whatchamacallit?

Help! Please tell me what you think the moral is so I can get to sleep.


One Response

  1. According to Homer Simpson, “it could be just a bunch of stuff that happened.” LOL. But seriously–you can find sand dollars in NJ? Get out!

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