22 February 2008

Skeljar (sea shells)

I don't recall ever seeing seashells while I was a missionary in Iceland back in the mid eighties. I went to the beach with my companions a few times, but it was never to get in the water, of course. We weren't supposed to get into the water. It was too cold anyway, so that was okay. But then in 2004 when I went the second time to Iceland, I spent a little time walking along the shores of the Westmann Islands off the southern coast of Iceland. The main island isn't that big so there weren't a whole lot of places to stop and see the sea, so to speak. One of the beaches had a bunch of little shells strewn all over it like in this picture. I got this picture from a missionary couple who lived in Reykjavík there in 2006 and took the picture sometime while serving there for 18 months. I don't know what beach it was from though. To me it looks just like the one I walked along when I was there in 2004.

I spent part of my early years growing up in Florida. We would go to the beaches on occasion and see lots of different kinds of shells. But they were never like these. If you look closely at these, you will notice that most look "thick". I brought a few home and added them to the aquariums I had who's occupants lived in much warmer waters than these shells came from. It made sense to me that these shells would have to be thicker in Icelandic waters to keep out the cold when compared to the Florida water shells which often seemed so delicate and thin.

After having collected a number of these shells to take home, I began to think of how similar most Icelanders had been to these shells. Most had a pretty thick shell and were trying to keep warm in a land that had been cold spiritually for a very long time. Trying to break through those shells was hard when the people had spent so much time growing them so thickly. But on occasion, one or more would come out of their shells on their own and gladly feed on the spiritual food that was being provided. Those were the people and the experiences which kept us warm as missionaries as well.

No comments: