If you live in or around Jupiter, Florida, you’re likely familiar with the fact that over the last couple of years, there have been a lot of shark teeth found on our local beaches. The reason is that there was a major offshore dredging project done to pump sand onto the shores and thereby replace all that which had eroded over time. This has churned up thousands of shark teeth, to the delight of beachgoers of all ages who are finding them in the shell beds and along the shoreline.
I love hunting for shark teeth. It fills me with such joy when I discover one. Like I’ve shared when it relates to seeing mama loggerhead turtles laying their eggs in the moonlight, it feels like God is lifting the veil and gifting you with an actual treasure. Last year, Rachel and I went out one morning found a whopping 84 teeth in about 3 hours (she found most of them – she seems to have the eye for it!).
Over time, shark teeth hunting in our area has gotten…well…fanatical for a lot of people. When you go to the beach – and if you’re observant – you may sense some territorial behavior, or even catch wind of it when you strike up a conversation with a hunter. Now I will admit, in the past I’ve arrived at the beach to do some teeth hunting and have wrestled with the sudden alarming thought: What if they’ve discovered all of them?
But I’ve been able to stiff-arm that notion pretty quickly for two reasons. First, it’s not accurate. Second, it’s not healthy for me to think that way.
You may not know this, but sharks are constantly losing and regrowing their teeth – and sometimes go through thousands in a lifetime. For some species, it happens every two weeks! Secondly. it’s possible that beachgoers earlier in the day have found a bunch, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more to be found. This is especially true if we believe that all blessings and benefits come from the Lord, that He takes pleasure in doing amazing things for us, and that as our Father, He is eager to give good gifts to those who ask Him.
So much in life comes back to the perspective with which we approach situations and circumstances. That, frankly, is the only thing we can control – the mentality we choose to adopt as the filter through which we will experience them. And what this shark teeth phenomenon has taught me is that we have to be careful to protect ourselves from a scarcity mindset and instead cleave to an abundance mindset.
When news of the plentiful shark teeth broke in the local news and then in national outlets, there were a number of individuals in our Jupiter Shark Teeth Hunters Facebook Group who were…ticked off. They didn’t want throngs of people to descend upon our special beaches (which, to be sure, has happened to some degree). They wanted to keep it a secret for the locals only. While I can cognitively understand this, I also was bothered by it and immediately recoiled at the idea.
It is such an amazing feeling to find a shark tooth, and I want everyone to experience it. Just like I want everyone to see a meteor shower, or catch a firefly, or fall in love. I mean, don’t you think that everyone deserves to experience those things?
It is such an amazing feeling to find a shark tooth, and I want everyone to experience it. Just like I want everyone to see a meteor shower, or catch a firefly, or fall in love. I mean, don’t you think that everyone deserves to experience those things? They are all moments that provoke awe and wonder, and there are far too few of them in life. Rachel will tell you that every time I have the opportunity to give a shark tooth to someone else who has been searching (especially kids!), I do it – even if it means running half a mile down the beach to find them again. Their beaming smile and exuberant joy is always worth it.
I want to live not out of a position of lack, but with a belief that a new blessing is always around the corner. I don’t want to live in a state of constant, cutthroat competition with others for a slice of the proverbial pie; I want to believe that there are plenty of pies to go around. Sure, it might seem idealistic and even naïve, but at least it keeps me from gripping too tightly to what I possess, from clawing and scraping and angling for every possible advantage I can get, and from being suspicious and closed off to anyone who can’t help me obtain what I want.
I want to live not out of a position of lack, but with a belief that a new blessing is always around the corner. I don’t want to live in a state of constant, cutthroat competition with others for a slice of the proverbial pie; I want to believe that there are plenty of pies to go around.
When I go hunting at the beach and find a shark tooth, I’m thrilled. When I spend a few hours and don’t find any, I am bummed. But it doesn’t mean that I harbor any ill thoughts or even envy towards those who found some that day. Maybe they needed the pick-me-up more than I did. Maybe they needed a sign from God that He still loves them. Maybe if I found some teeth every time I went out, I’d lose appreciation for the magic and miracle of it all. He knows best. I can stay expectant; there is always next time. And I can be happy for others, because their hopes to find some are as important as my own hopes. And actually, the best version of myself on my best day would like to prioritize theirs over mine.
There is so much out there for me. And you. Perhaps we should spend less time scheming and chasing and angling and maneuvering, and more time asking Him to open our eyes wide to what He wants us to discover. And for Him to open our hearts wider to the desires of others. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what will usher in the kind of abundance we’ve needed most after all.
Image source: https://bit.ly/3C82PJ0
Excellent reflection Sameer, it reminds me of the way people sometimes respond to equality issues, for some reason those who enjoy a privilege often think that extending it to others will somehow weaken it, but in fact, the more we extend our privilege to others the stronger it gets, marriage equality is a case in point.
Hi James! Wow, I never thought of that parallel and am grateful that you brought it up to me. I don’t think we came into the world with a scarcity mentality. Somehow, we get tainted and close-fisted over the years – but one should realize this and notice what it is doing to their heart, to their spirit. And then course-correct with His help, thereby being able to love others more and love Him more and experience life to the fullest (which He promised).