I’m having a moment, and a bittersweet one at that. This month marks the end of one of the very best yet most horrible year of my life, and this very week marks the end of one of the most spectacular opportunities I have ever had.
Me and Mom, Easter, 91/92ish
For the majority of my life the month of April has been a time for celebration. With spring holidays like Easter and Passover, and in my family, and line-up of birthdays that is too long to count, it’s a time of year we all look forward to. Last year, on April 6th, a dark cloud fell over my happy spring time. We lost my mother, Lee, unexpectedly. She was only 48. My heart broke, but I’m the hold ‘em together kinda girl, so as soon as my head made sense of everything I hit the ground running. At 24 years old, I did what no child expects to do so early in life and planned my mother’s funeral. We celebrated her life and said goodbye to her on the 11th. I returned home to Nashville to get back to work, school, and even though life had thrown a wrench in preparations and training, a pageant. But, I was exhausted! I tried to back out. Every time I would say a doubtful word my friends, coaches, trainer, and family would snap at me and tell me I had to do it, for me and for Mom. So just 5 days after we buried Mom I was on a stage competing for the title of Mrs. Tennessee United States 2011. I would love to say I went in feeling the most beautiful and confident I have ever felt (because trust me, that was the plan!), but after a week of crying and eating fast food on the road my skin was dried out, my body weak, and my mind was numb. I went into it knowing I was all I possibly could be, and I was determined to go out there and give it everything I could, even though I knew it wasn’t as much as it would have been 2 weeks before. I walked on that stage and it suddenly all came back to me. The second the lights hit me I felt relief. For the first time in weeks I felt like myself again. I felt happy and I could genuinely smile. That moment alone was enough for me to feel like I’d won, but receiving that crown at the end of the night certainly was the icing on the cake. The next few days flew by and when I finally returned home, I was a big ball of mixed emotions. I had just faced one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to live through in the same week I experienced one of the most exciting moments of my life so far. Through the year I continued to wrestle and deal with missing mom and the responsibility and opportunity that came with my title. That wrestling made me long for a break. I CRAVED 2012’s arrival. I felt like a new year would bring a new sense of faith, a clear mind, and new opportunities. Well, I was right. I survived 2011 and greeted 2012 with more joy and more new calenders than ever before.
The crowning moment. Mrs. Tennessee United States 2011.
So fast forward to now. I’ve been busy, tired, stressed out, happy, encouraged, and renewed. 2012 has opened even more doors for me. It’s brought about the clarity and rest I had hoped for. But with it comes the closing of 2011, and the doors that opened with it. It’s April again, and in the past two weeks I’ve said goodbye to another person I loved, celebrated Mom’s one year anniversary in Heaven, and in just 6 short days I crown the new Mrs. Tennesee. I’ve learned more than I ever imagined I would learn in one year. I’ve met amazing people, traveled our beautiful country, and really learned who I am and what I have the potential to be. Hence, that bittersweet emotion I was talking about. As sad as I am to see this journey end for me, I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year holds and what place I’ll be in come next April.
This week I’m leaving behind all of the good, bad, and the unexpected of the past year and setting out on a new part of this life God has for me. I’m nervous, but faithful. I’m trusting God as I walk through this new door blindly, flight or fall, Spring is a time of new beginnings! Though I’m sad to give up my sparkly hat, fancy clothes, and title I have a super good feeling ( a reference for my fellow Bleach fans) whatever is coming my way next will be even better.
So for those of you who are just surviving until _____, hang in there. This too shall pass. A new season is coming. For those of you leaving a treasured part of your life behind and moving forward, carry on. As “they” say, all good things must come to an end. (and I’m assuming “they” most certainly have NOT worn a tiara before, otherwise “they” might change their minds on that one!)
Ecc 3: 1-9
1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. 5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. 6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.