When I’m Deep Inside My Shell


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Your circumstances don’t DEFINE you, but REFINE you..turning the ashes of your past into the diamonds of your future. ~ The Single Woman

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More than one friend has been a bit concerned about the fact that I’m all closed up inside my protective shell right now after the break-up of my most recent relationship, one in which we were getting pretty serious.  We had been talking about the future, and not all that distant of one either.  His dream businesses, my dream careers (yeah I have two) and how those would work together.  There was talk of my needing to get used to having my picture taken if I was going to be a member of the family, and enjoy camping and caving.  And then suddenly, literally over night, it is all gone.  The dreams of the future have once again been shattered.

I put on my happy, brave mask, and said “It’s all good”.   Reality is it is NOT all good, I’m hurting.  I loved the dreams we shared, our goals and hopes.  I very much loved him, his family, especially the grandsons.  I enjoyed every minute we spent together, even camping which anyone who knows me knows that it took a lot for me to go on that little trip.  I was already counting down the days until next year’s Halloween family camp out, I really enjoyed it.  So yes, I’m hurting inside.

In my typical fashion I am handling this by closing my shell and retreating inside myself.  But this is how I heal, and folks need to not worry about me.  This is not just a time of healing, it is a time of growth and change, inwardly at my core and good always comes from it.

Think of it like an oyster.  An oyster shell  grows right along with the oyster.  In order for the shell to grow, an organ within the shell, the mantel, uses the minerals from the food the oyster consumes to produce the shell.  Pearls come from oysters, and are made when a foreign substance makes its way inside and gets between the oyster’s shell and mantel, not unlike getting a splinter.  The mantel of the oyster shell will cover that irritant in layers of nacre, which is the substance the mantel produces that lines the inside of the shell.  As each layer is applied it slowly becomes a pearl.  The most valuable pearls are those that are nice and round in shape.  This is because most do not turn out perfectly round, instead they are uneven in shape and are called baroque pearls.

My heart is a lot like an oyster.  It has a nice, hard protective shell around it, and on as needed basis I have made the shell thicker, layer by layer.  It is how I protect myself from future pain.  Once in a while I let someone inside that shell, to hold my heart.  But when they hurt me, and shatters my dreams, a sliver of the dream is left piercing my heart.  It is like that foreign substance that invades an oyster, my heart begins to cover that irritant in healing layers.  With each layer that is applied, I learn more about me, and I grow a little more to be a better person.  Pearls take a long time to be produced, and the pearls that make up who I am take time too.  Good always comes from the pain, but not immediately.  I need time to mull it over, work through it, figure out where, if at all, I went wrong, examine myself to see if there is a flaw in my character that needs to be adjusted and letting go of the love and the one who caused the pain.  In the end, when I again allow someone to open my shell, there they find a treasure.  Some of those pearls they find are the baroque gems, things about me that still need improvement, others are perfectly round, smooth stones.  All are beautiful and when strung together make up the person I am. 

Part of that healing is to turn to the bible, God’s word and the food of my soul.  It lifts me up, nourishes me, encourages me, teaches me, and helps to heal my broken heart.  It too surrounds those shards of shattered dreams in layers of Divine healing and wisdom, helping with the process to mold this clay vessel into the work of art I am meant to be.

This time is no different.  Inside me right now, under the cover of my shell, the splintered piece of my love for the Count and the dreams we shared, is being covered in layers as I go through the process of letting go.  The next person that is fortunate enough to open my shell and hold my heart, will find a wealth of pearls made from heartaches, loss, difficult lessons learned through painful times, each one now a valuable gem strung together to make the person I am today.

Hopefully the next person treats my heart like the fragile and priceless treasure it is, and knows what a privilege it is to hold in their hands, and will protect it rather than break it.

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Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.  ~ Hermann Hesse

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5 thoughts on “When I’m Deep Inside My Shell

  1. Well, you can’t count on me for too much that is witty or helpful, but I will say this: I loved your analogy of the pearl. But from what I know of you, you should ditch that pearl thing and go right for what you really are…..a Diamond. Pearls are beautiful yes. But if handled too much, or not properly they can pick up the oils and impurities of the person handling them. And lose their luster and shine. And you aren’t a woman that should be “handled”. A diamond, on the other hand is created from pressure and heat. And you’ve certainly faced some of that. But when a diamond is formed, it is beautiful and practically indestructible. And if needed can defend itself with it’s sharp edges. Don’t let the “impurities” of the world determine you. Take the pressure and the heat and overcome !!

  2. I am so so sorry to hear about this recent heart ache. I was so happy to see your love bubble-like posts. I think you are an amazingly strong woman.

    * and I really wish I had something super witty and helpful to say.

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