It was an accident, really, that I found both of them, lying there next to each other in the sand. By all reasoning, one of them should have been washed away, carried off by the gulls, or crushed beneath careless feet. I picked them up gently, feeling their coolness against my hands; they were totally clean, polished, surf-washed.
In my left hand, the flatter of the two - its smooth inner surface iridescent and glowing. Only slight ripples marred it. Those, and the flat scar where its muscle once had been attached.
The outer surface rougher, with concentric growth patterns extending out from one edge, rippled, and matte white.
In my right hand, the larger, deeper one - less iridescent, more rippled, its scar larger and slightly discolored. This one grew perfectly, as though meticulously planned, into a small, smooth cup just right for cradling the soft living thing it once held.
The outer side of this one was rugged, the ripples of its layers forming rolling wavelike patterns with tinges of lavender and deep purple. Carefully, I turned the flat one over in my left hand and placed it together with the other one. The fit was perfect, as I knew it would be.
For this was its design: where one was larger and deeper, the other was smaller and more shallow.
Over time, each had grown to accommodate the other - one curved out where the other curved in - so that the fit between the two was flawless.
At one end, as if finely tooled, the hinge, where tough fiber once held the two together.
In many ways, my husband and I are not at all alike. When it comes to making decisions, I tend to think hard, turning things over and over, trying to see all sides. My husband is much more decisive and to the point, seeing the “either - or” quickly. In dealing with others he can be brusque, telling it exactly as he sees it. I treasure tact and gentleness, trying not to offend or hurt feelings. He is organized and neat, putting things away as used, and in their proper places. I’m organized too, but in a different fashion, with various piles and hidden stashes just waiting for further attention. In so many areas, we just operate totally differently.
I have much in common with friends, but there are glaring differences there, also. Sometimes, as we each go about things in our own special way, annoyances crop up. But I have come to see how these differences - whether between friends or spouses - enrich us all. There is a time for quick decision, as well as for thought and scope. A place for “handling with kid gloves” as well as “telling it like it is”. Where I am weak, someone else is bound to be strong. It is in fitting our strength into another’s weakness, and allowing their strength to fill in our gaps, that we both become more complete. It’s not always easy, for sometimes we rub each other the wrong way. But if the tough fiber of love and commitment hold us together, even these irritations can result in a pearl.
I’ve kept that oyster shell - the two halves make a beautiful whole.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because
I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
Psalm 139: 13 - 15