Finding Beauty In The Brokenness

From my own collection gathered on the shores of Lake Michigan

Look at this glass!  Can you believe it was once trash? Chipped, cracked or completely broken into a thousand shards– each smaller piece once part of something larger and useful but later discarded. Thrown into the cleansing water of the big lake, these gems spent decades I suspect  being pushed forward by storms from the West and occasionally dragged back by East winds, gradually making their way across the bottom to the beaches near my home where glassers like myself hunt.  I am attracted to broken things such as these that have somehow been redeemed; especially when the restorative work has been done without human intervention.

Below I have compiled a few “top 5” lists that help explain my fascination with “glassing” along Lake Michigan.

This morning’s view


1. It’s a great workout.

2. It gets me outside.

3. It is competitive treasure hunting.

4. It’s basically free.

5. You never know what you might find.


I found this one morning


1. A bottle with note offering life advice

2.  A bamboo skim board

3. A $5 bill in tact

4. A small washed up sailboat (I floated it home and took it to our cottage for a party raft.)

5. The book “Jesus on Trial”


This was a productive spot


1. Glass travels with smaller rocks.  Bare beaches do not produce.

2. Go early.  Hit your honey hole right at dawn to beat the competition.

3. Hunting is best a day or two after a storm when the waves are back down to a foot or less.

4. Focus on certain colors. I find more browns when I’m thinking about browns.

5. Make two passes over the same area if you can. You will see new things from the opposite direction.


My “primo” jar


1. Pieces with letters or words

2. Blues and pinks

3. Functional parts such as handles and decanter tops

4.  Super polished pieces (like those on the left)

5. Fine china with patterns




Find the Indian Bead


1. Indian beads (a fossilized stem segment). I use them as anchors for my glass mobiles.

2. Stones with holes worn through. I use these much like the Indian beads.

3. Flat driftwood for signs and mobiles.

4. Fishing lures

5. Beach toys for future grandchildren (?)


Old Dr. Brown’s Playhouse


1. Most glass picked up in a day: Over 100 pieces

2. Farthest walked in a session: 8 miles

3. Favorite piece: A diamond-shaped piece of pottery with the words “Kraft Chicago” on it.

4. Estimated amount of glass I own:  Five thousand pieces?

5. Last injury:  I was clocked across the bridge of my nose by the angled steel beam that supports old Dr. Brown’s house. When you are constantly looking down sometimes you run into things.

Life Lesson Learned From Glassing: 

Most everyone has received a chip or crack.  Some have been splintered into thousands of shards.  And while damage may seem irreparable, God can make anything new and beautiful again.


19 thoughts on “Finding Beauty In The Brokenness

  1. Oh what a fun hobby. It is something I’d love to do. I live near a lake, but I would think it is too small to have such treasures.

    My husband and I used to geo-cache when we were stronger physically. I loved doing that. Thanks for sharing, and watch your head!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve injured myself a few times! I didn’t mention it but the sound of the waves also make me have to pee very suddenly. Thankfully the beaches aren’t populated when I go … I mean GO!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I enjoy just spreading the pieces out and touching them. I have a friend who lives in Tennessee that I turned onto this hobby and she now plans her vacations around glassing. It also soothes her soul when she is facing personal issues with her adult son. It is so amazing that God can transform these once discarded things. It is a metaphor for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy hunting for beach glass on Lakes Erie and Ontario. For me, it becomes a type of meditation. I have never looked for Indian beads but will begin to watch for them. I do collect small fish bones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very cool! It is a bit addicting! A neighbor also finds Indian artifacts in the same area! I have trouble focusing on too many things at once as my eyesight is poor. I concentrate on certain colors with each pass.


  3. I wish I were living close to seashore. You have beautiful collections! I can imagine when you find glass pieces; you observe them, pick them carefully, and keep them as your treasures.

    Broken pieces, yet they are unique, different, beautiful and giving joy to others. I agree this is a spiritual metaphor. Aren’t we all as broken, beautiful, and unique as these pieces of glass that you find and treasure?

    Liked by 3 people

    • What else is like this glass I wonder? Of course natural things break down and we see them in the forest and such beautiful in their decay, but man-made things that have been used for a time then tossed? It is hard to think of anything like this glass. Especially as it was down in the dark waters so long. It is like a Cinderella story!

      Liked by 1 person

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