25
Feb
22

Not Schmeople!

Look at this cool seashell I found! Have you ever seen anything like it?

Of course you have. That was a silly thing to say. But I’ll wager you haven’t seen a ton of them. Landlubbers like me don’t get down here to Sanibel Island very often to stumble upon them. 

I love seashells. The variety of shapes, sizes, and colors is mindboggling to me. Speaking of which, get a gander at this conch shell I picked up, while just out walking around minding my own business.

Strolling the beach, I am like a kid in a candy store. Or a oenophile in a vineyard… whichever analogy works best for you.

By the third day, however, walking barefoot on the sand, I find the thrill has decreased a bit. I notice, for example, that there are enough of that cool striped shell I found to make a cute family of sea turtles out of them. 

Oh yeah,” I say, looking down. “Another one of those.” I walk by unfazed, checking the horizon. At this rate, I’ll be saying something like, “Shells, schmells” by the end of the week.

But here is the thing; seashells don’t lose their luster. They don’t become any less amazing, beautiful, unique, strange, colorful, or intriguing just because I see them every day. Any change that happens is in meI allow my eyes and my heart to take seashells for granted. Seashells don’t become less wonderful. It is ME who loses – or perhaps relinquishes is the better word – the capacity to appreciate their innate wonder.

Hallelujah that God doesn’t treat us the same way! Can you imagine if your Creator gazed down casually on you one day and said, “Oh yeah. Another one of those.”

Or even worse: “People, schmeople. Whatever.”

Praise God that will never happen! That’s because every last one of us matters to God. Every last one of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” in the words of the psalmist. (Psalm 139:14, NRSV). Every last one of us is unconditionally loved, treasured, and celebrated. 

Which is only one of the manifold reasons the current situation in Ukraine is so unspeakably tragic. Besides the violence, bloodshed, and destruction of property, we see people… precious, unrepeatable, beloved people… being trampled underfoot and turned into “schmeople.”

Today, of course, I pray for Ukraine. I pray for its leaders and its defenders. I pray for those who have fled. I pray for those who have decided to stay. I pray for the families whose roots extend deep into Ukrainian soil, whether they still live there or not. I pray for wisdom on the part of other world leaders who seek to save lives and end this conflict.

But most of all, I pray for the elimination of the mindset that sees people as expendable pawns in some kind of global chess match… 

… or as nameless, faceless grains of sand on an endless, anonymous beach. 

Please, Lord, hasten the day dawn when each of us sees one another the way YOU see us.

AMEN.

Abundant blessings;


3 Responses to “Not Schmeople!”


  1. February 26, 2022 at 3:14 pm

    As the kids would say, “OMG!!!!” We are in (on) Sanibel, too! We’ll be here another 2 weeks. Email me at bascha3870@yahoo.com if you’d like to meet for coffee and talk about shells and people. (I have some pretty profound ideas of my own that I’m not sure if I’ve blogged about yet.)

  2. February 26, 2022 at 3:14 pm

    (Sanibel Bean is a nice coffee shop. 🙂 )

  3. March 1, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    A timely reminder, Russell. Thanks!


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