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  • Jerry Snider

What does an expert in their field really provide?

I was recently on a long weekend trip to the beach in Rockport, TX. We stopped in to my wife's favorite little coastal shop in town - The Sea Shell Shoppe. My wife has been shopping here since she was a little girl visiting her grandparents at their coast house.


As we entered the store, I overheard the owner (Deborah) speaking to a customer and her kids. The kids looked to be middle school or junior high age. Deborah was explaining the differences in sea shells. The piece that really caught my attention was her description of right-handed and left-handed shells. She went on to say that left-handed sea shells are just like left-handed people, not very common.



I stood there, 10 days before my 45th birthday, thinking to myself "wait, there are different handed sea shells?"


Granted I'm a male who growing up was far more into sports than sea shells. But I've spent my fair share of time at beaches and in sea shell shops. How is this brand new information to me?


As we picked out or items and went to purchase them, we found out that Deborah has just turned 70 years old and has owned the shop for decades. We talked about her recovery from Hurricane Harvey and the nearly two year journey back to "normal."


Appearances on the outside show that Deborah is a retail store owner who makes a living selling souvenirs. While that's true on one level, looking deeper shows that she is an expert on sea shells. That's not a requirement of her business per se, but it's a requirement of her life.


Deborah's passion for sea shells has fueled her to become an expert, seeking out knowledge that she can share with her customers. She didn't charge those kids (or me when I eavesdropped) for the information about left-handed seas shells. She was thrilled to be able to share and educate someone on her passion - sea shells.


Sure, I got home and googled left-handed sea shells to validate her claim. I found they are truly uncommon. So much so that some collectors pay extra for them over right-handed sea shells. Not that I doubted Deborah, but I was curious because her claim stretched my limited knowledge of sea shells.


Yes, Deborah is an expert on sea shells. Her knowledge is extensive but her passion is unmatched. Is she the world's leading expert on sea shells? Who knows but not likely. Is she fulfilling God's purpose for her life by using her love of sea shells to bring joy to others? Absolutely.


So after you go look at all the sea shells in your home to find out if you by chance have a left-handed shell, think about the areas of your life that you are trying to improve. What areas do you think you know it all but in reality (be honest) you aren't passionate about?


Find someone who is passionate about that area and let them help you. Sure it might cost money at times, but getting help from an expert in their field will pay huge dividends in both the short and long term. Just think, if one of those kids comes across a really cool sea shell that happens to be a left-handed sea shell it could be a collectors item to be treasured.

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