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The town grew smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror as I cruised down the highway. The car was full of household items, the dog, and some luggage. The moving truck was already at our next home, and I was headed there – fast!

It was a sad morning to pack the final things into my car (including my vacuum, which assaulted me pretty much the whole ride, since it lay diagonally between the front and back) and say goodbye to my friends. I was ready – and not a bit sad – to leave the town and the old life behind, ready to start the new. But saying goodbye to friends who tug on your heart strings is always hard, and I was a bit weepy.

I saw a turn coming up ahead for the ocean, and thought for a brief second that I should go say goodbye, but I quickly dismissed the thought. Afterall, I had a long day ahead, and would be driving through storms all day.

At the last second before the turn, I swerved over to make a left turn down Old Beach road. I love the ocean, and a salty goodbye was in order.

The dog and I walked down the beach a bit, letting the water brush past my jeans, and the sand build up in my shoes. Taking a moment to collect my thoughts and cool my anxiety, I looked down and spotted a beautiful sea shell. I bent down to pick it up, running my thumb over the ridges to clear the sand. The top side had a deep blush color, and the back was pearly white. It was only a piece of a shell, which was enough for me.

Into my mind popped the scripture Psalm 139:14 NIV

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

I am the sea shell, unique and colorful. Different from any other.

I realized this final beach stop was exactly what I needed. It would stand as a reminder to always take a piece of time just for me. In that moment with the sand sprinkled in the palm of my hand, this beautiful shell piece caught the sunlight. The long drive ahead didn’t matter. The hard effort from closing one door and opening another didn’t matter. Leaving behind the military town for a big city didn’t matter.

I mattered.

Life goes on regardless of what we do, so I am grateful for the reminder to slow down and take time for me.

I ran my fingers over the shell and stuck it into my back pocket, turning to walk in the direction of my car.Slowly, I walked back to the sand parking lot, wiggling my toes deep into the sand with every step.