Standing on Hilton Head Island’s deserted beach and looking out at the vast ocean in front of her, Peggy Davis found herself reflecting on how beautiful life is.
Davis, 58, and her husband Steve traveled from the small town of Hamilton, Ala., for a vacation to Hilton Head on a whim this week.
During a long walk on the beach in Palmetto Dunes on Monday, the pair stumbled across an area with hundreds of shells. Still, only one jumped out. In the middle of the shell was a crack in the shape of a cross.
Davis admits that at the time she didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it. But after returning to their condo later that night Davis said she was taken aback.
“For us to just happen upon that (the shell) I thought, ‘Wow, this is so awesome that God uses little things to remind us of his love and that he’s always with us,’” she said. “Because like I told my husband, we have so much to be thankful for.”
Davis has dealt with a range of serious health issues throughout the last several years. In 2013, she started dropping weight and was constantly sick.
After seeing multiple doctors and specialists, she was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a rare condition where her stomach muscles stopped contracting and she could no longer digest food.
She was put on a feeding tube, and later underwent a revolutionary surgery to get a pacemaker installed to help her stomach muscles contract.
“My husband and I were raised in the Bible belt, so I became a Christian early in life,” Davis said. “But once I got sick, I’ve just began to realize how much I’ve really needed the lord and that healing touch.”
Davis saw small improvements after her surgery, but in recent months started having seizures. Doctors have not yet discovered why.
“It seemed like a big setback, and I was getting so depressed wondering how am I going to do this. I can’t even drive anymore,” she said. “But when this trip came about, it reaffirmed that even though life may seem hard at times, he (God) always carries us through.”
Davis and her husband arrived on Hilton Head on Dec. 3, only about a week after Davis’ brother invited them to stay at his open condominium for a week.
Normally the couple would not travel so far from home during the holidays — they still have not purchased any Christmas presents — but they’re trying not to focus so much on the material aspects of the holiday season, she said.
“I love giving the kids and grandkids gifts, but we’ve tried to show them not just on Christmas or other holidays but every day that we’re thankful and appreciative of them and the things we have,” Davis said.
Davis and Steve have three children and five grandchildren. She said they can’t wait to bring the family back for another vacation on Hilton Head soon.
In the meantime, Davis plans to bring the shell home with her as a constant reminder to appreciate the little things in life.
“Finding that little shell really touched us,” Davis said. “A lot of people may say that’s so corny, but you know, it’s the little things in life that we need to learn to enjoy and appreciate instead of just the big things that we get caught up in.”