I was at one of my favorite places in the world: Long Beach Island, New Jersey. My mother grew up on this long but narrow island, and I see my connection to this place as part of my genealogy, even though no family remains on the island other than the memories of my mother’s youth. On the last night of my most recent trip there, I walked down to the water by myself. I was like a castaway – it was just me, the sand, the surf, and the moon, which cast its beams down upon me as I soaked up this last journey of the trip. I sat down upon a little cliff of sand and just stared at the waves, listening to their constant, soothing lull. As I watched the tide reclaim sea treasures and footprints left at the edges of her reach, it hit me. Sometimes, life overwhelms you, like the waves upon the sand. But the feeling of being overwhelmed always goes away. The tides recede and there are new things waiting to be discovered. Sometimes it may not be pretty, but it’s something to examine nonetheless. Other times, it’s a whole new precious gift that you will cherish forever and ever. I began to apply this metaphor to my own life. What has overwhelmed me? What have I learned from those times of struggle? What has brought me joy and helped me to grow? And what have I discovered?
Beachcombing for Beauty hopes to continue to apply this metaphor to everyday life. As an history teacher, I tend to find the beautiful through teachable moments and stories in history. I also find the beautiful in my relationships with others – friends, mentors, colleagues. But one can find the beautiful through challenges as well, which as someone in just her second year of teaching who is also juggling grad classes and the stress that comes with it all, I am all too familiar with – it’s all in how one chooses to approach it. I hope that you, too, can see the beauty of the treasures that I find cast upon the sand.