Sometimes they are called “angel wings”. Often when a clam of some kind is opened, and has been tossed onto shore, we find only a single side at a time….but sometimes we find the two halves still intact. Various clams are the most common type of shells that line the shore near our home, so I see a lot of “angel wings” while jogging on the beach. I don’t usually think much about it, but today I saw them differently.
Today, I stopped and pulled the empty clam shells from the rift of sand from which they protruded. I held them in my hand and studied the image they presented.
I wondered how this clam was emptied. Did some marine animal force it open to consume its life? Did the life inside simply grow weak and give up its hold? Did the rough journey to the shore break it apart, allowing birds to access its soft unprotected body? All I know is that now it sat open and empty in my hand. And I thought…..I know what being open and empty feels like too.
Sometimes life seems to consume us. Sometimes our “journey to shore” breaks us apart, and we fall prey to the hurt around us. Sometimes we just feel weak and desire to let go. When I do not have answers, when life seems unfair, when my striving is senseless, when I hurt or feel the hurting of those I love…it is then I remember that there is nothing in me that can handle this life…I am simply open and empty.
I looked at the clam sitting open in my palm. I thought it was a sad and broken thing, but then God nudged me to look closer. It was suddenly very obvious…it was not broken! This tiny set of “angel wings” was not broken, instead the expanse of the shell edges seemed to be more of an invitation, a welcoming gesture like an angel spreading its wings to take in a tired soul. Maybe being open and empty is not a bad thing.
In an open and empty heart there is much more room for God. When I empty myself of me, He steps in to fill me up. He brings me love, joy and hope, not as the world gives, but as only He can give…beyond my circumstances and beyond my expectations. I have poured out my heart before Him and now my heart is full!
The “angel wings” sit on my desk now and remind me how beautiful being open and empty can become when we allow God to fill our heart and our lives with His love for us.
“Trust in Him at all times, O people, Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8