Trash to Treasure




Glass Beach is a unique beach, not because nature made it that way, but because time and the pounding surf have corrected one of man’s mistakes.

In the early 20th century, Fort Bragg residents threw their household garbage over the cliffs above what is now Glass Beach. It is hard to imagine this happening today, but back then people dumped all kinds of refuse straight into the ocean, including old cars, and their household garbage, which of course included lots of glass.

Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump, and locals referred to it as “The Dumps.” Sometimes fires were lit to reduce the size of the trash pile, however in 1967, the city leaders closed the area. Over the next several decades the pounding waves cleansed the beach, wearing down the discarded glass into the small, smooth, colored trinkets that cover the beach today.

I find this absolutely cool…amazing…profound.

How nature did such a beautiful thing over time with discarded trash.

Maybe it’s because I can relate. I was once discarded. I was replaced. And it felt like I might was well have set myself on the curb for disposal. I felt, for all intensive purposes…like trash. Granted, it wasn’t the most stellar of all marriages, but I just never saw it coming until one day it was clear that I had been replaced. And I came to find out that it happens all the time. Duh…but I was very naïve. Hundreds, no, thousands affairs happen every year. Wives and husbands replaced, discarded…thrown away. Just like a household appliance or junk.

But over time, after years of crashing waves of sorrow, pain, anger and confusion…I started changing. Without realizing it, my rough edges were becoming smoother. Over time, I started letting go of the anger, the pain. I started moving towards forgiveness, acceptance…peace. I couldn’t change the past. I couldn’t control others, make them change their mind, or save my crumbling marriage. But I could make an intentional journey towards hope and eventually even joy.

Yes…over time, I changed from a broken shard of sharp glass…all hard, and pointy and ready to inflict pain on anyone that got close…to a soft, well rounded, balanced, peaceful person. And just like the beautiful pieces of glass on Glass Beach…I feel I have been repurposed. I am no longer what I once was. I am different. I am changed. Because I was discarded and reworked.

Sometimes there is a place in time where you just have to accept, forgive, move on, wrap yourself in grace, dive into mercy, and swim towards joy. For me the result has been my own little peaceful shore of beauty. I had to be there alone for awhile…basking in the sheer wonder of it all. Still working on rounding out those edges. But eventually I found another discarded piece of glass who had also been replaced and thrown out.

And in our repurposed states of mind and heart, we found that love can indeed be found and in more abundance than imaginable when you just allow life to happen. And to prove once and for all that one mans trash is another’s treasure.