I pile perfect shells on the front deck against a planter. I like their look, bleached white by the sun, turning powdery, symbols of the ocean from which they come. Shells have a delicacy and beauty that sets off the cacti blooming in the terra cotta strawberry pot. Each shell is different when I find them—size, polish, color and shape—even texture. But soon the sun whitens them all, and they become almost identical. I find comfort in their sameness—in a world in which individuality is so highly prized, it’s refreshing to see common bonds revealed. I think of my church friends, so different in multiple ways. And yet, when we come to the Sacrament, we are all alike, seeking forgiveness and receiving grace. Like those bleached shells, the common bond of forgiveness unites us. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of uniting and bonding us into one family—your family.