Five years ago, when I most needed it, I went on a beach vacation with my family. I was in the throes of some fast living, some people I needed distance from, and a life that– in general– felt otherworldy from who I was.

So I went to the beach, to a too-small duplex where my sister and I shared bunked beds, and where we had to rearrange all the living room furniture to accommodate our big family. But looking back now, that trip was everything. I cooked with my mom, I played games with my family, I drank beer with my dad, I went for two terribly miserable runs. I read a lot.

What happened that week wasn’t a sum of all those standard American vacation activities, but somehow, in it all, I remembered who I was. I was reminded of what I could be.

I came back from that week and made some hard choices– to change my living situation, to end some bad relationships, to start being the person my family knew I could be. And I know that friends and families can put expectations on you that you don’t want and can’t carry– I’ve felt that pressure too.

But this was different– this was hope, this was accountability, this was forgiveness and grace in the truest sense of the words.

And now, here I am, just returned from the beach with my family for the first time since that trip 5 years ago. And I’ve made some decisions– to leave my last job in pursuit of something different, something more in line with who I see myself to be. Again, this clarion call tolls and tolls and I heed. I remind myself – in the presence of those witnesses that have been with me since the very beginning – of who I am, and who I am going to be. No turning back now.

These little beach trips are–unintentionally– marking my milestones of remembrance. So, I’m grateful that I see this providence and this design. Surely, none of this is by accident.sam ladies

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