A Sea Shell and Success by Reva Lachica Moore


Many years ago, I had a collection of seashells that consisted of three cascading shell chandeliers and a box of varied sizes of nautilus, conches, cowries, sundials, etc. A few years later, my interest on the shell collection waned. The chandeliers found their resting places up in the attic and the individual shells are in a box in the garage.

Seven years later, I started seeing a familiar object that was stuck between the lower branches of the trunk of the crepe myrtle outside the garage, but my mind wouldn’t retain the memory. I have seen it a few times when I would rake near the driveway.

When I finally found the time to look at the object, I saw my favorite 9-inch queen conch shell nicely lodged on the crepe myrtle’s two-inch trunk. My husband, JR, had placed it there. At that time, the huge seashell was barely sitting on the tiny trunk and could easily be taken out.

I was raking again today, and the huge seashell caught my eye. I couldn’t believe that it took me this long to notice it again. In the past seven years, the trunk had grown quite large, and it grew around the seashell. The tree did not allow the shell to stop it from growing. Instead of crushing it, the shell became a part of the tree. Today, the 15-ft crepe myrtle stands proudly covered with beautiful purple flowers at springtime.

In a person’s life, I can compare the seashell to a huge challenge or a setback that could keep a person from growing into his full potential. It will depend on the person to rise above the challenge to reach success. There are many famous people who didn’t allow big life’s challenges to deter them from having success.

John Callahan became a successful cartoonist despite being a quadriplegic. In his cartoons, Callahan addresses everyday life from the perspective of a handicapped person.

Jim Abbott was born without a right hand, but that didn’t stop him from playing Major League Baseball. The left-handed pitcher went on to play for both the Angels and the Yankees.

Thomas Edison, inventor of the long-lasting light bulb, phonograph, and various other inventions, was deaf. A teacher told Thomas Edison that he was “too stupid to learn anything.”

Ludwig van Beethoven, the famous German composer, became deaf later in life. Despite losing his hearing, Beethoven continued playing and composing music, a feat that many would agree to be a miracle.

Harrison Ford, the actor, was told by the Vice President of Columbia that he was “never going to make it in the business.”

Dr. Ben Carson, in spite of his impoverished childhood, is one of the best neurosurgeons in America today. Read his story in “Gifted Hands.”

A young man was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no original ideas” as was told to Walt Disney when they let him go.

In 1962, four nervous young musicians played their first record audition for the executives of the Decca Recording Company. The executives were not impressed. While turning down this group of musicians, one executive said, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.” The group was called The Beatles.

When Fred Smith attended Yale University, he wrote a project paper on the concept of overnight package delivery. The professor awarded Smith a “C minus.” Undeterred, Smith started Federal Express, which today is one of the World’s largest overnight delivery companies.

When Colonel Sanders was 65 years old, he received his first social security check of $99. He was broke. His only asset was a secret chicken recipe. He offered his secret chicken recipe to many restaurants for free. Over 1,000 restaurants rejected his offer. Today, Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets are found all over the world.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired a singer after one performance. He told him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere….son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” He went on to become the most popular singer in America named Elvis Presley.

Einstein did not speak until he was 3 years old and was considered an “unteachable” fool by his early teachers.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, it did not ring off the hook with calls from potential backers. After making a demonstration call, President Rutherford Hayes said, “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted Polio in 1921, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Refusing to accept his paralysis, he mastered walking short distances using iron braces and a cane. He became the 32nd President of the United States.

The grandmother of Mary Grace Gellekanao, the one-handed pianist, was told by the first piano teacher, “She’s just wasting my time. She will never be able to play the piano.” Mary Grace, through God’s grace, proved the piano teacher wrong. Mary Grace has given concerts in 48 states all over country. Praise God!

A winner never allows anything to discourage him or her. Instead, he uses the challenge as a rung to his ladder of success.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”