Posted by: Lauren Gaskill | November 9, 2010

Love Transcends Failure

Photo courtesy of Anthony Mosley Photography.

I competed in a preliminary for the Miss America Organization this weekend, making it  my fourth pageant in two years.  I put more money into this program than all my other pageants combined.  I was excited to have more experience this year, and would have (although the money was an incentive in itself) been thrilled to have the crown and hopefully make a difference in my community.

I have had tastes of victory in many of my pageants, but have never smelled victory.  This remained true after this weekend.  The results were read and my stomach doubled-over beneath me.  Yay for me, was all I could think in my sarcastic state-of-mind.  I came up short yet again.  Saltwater tears filled my eyes in astonishment.  How ironic, I thought.  I won the same award as last year: the non-finalist interview award.  Following the crowning of the winner, I felt the need to be anywhere but onstage.  If I didn’t get off, I was going to be crying in front of nearly 300 people.  I ran backstage to unleash the hurt…

That night, I thought I had failed.  Not just myself but my family and friends who had come to watch me from as much as three hours away.  I felt like a complete disappointment and I was embarrassed.  But then, a wise Miss alumni took the time to speak to me during my backstage breakdown.  Three days later, her words still resonate in my ears.  What she told me changed my perspective on the results of the night.  She told me that as long as I had my put my best performance out on the stage, there was nothing to be mad at myself about.  Sure, the money situation was definitely something to mourn over… but past that, I couldn’t be disappointed with myself.  And she was right.  I put my whole self out on that stage, and finally had a great vocal performance.  I couldn’t call myself a total failure.

This weekend was a blessing in disguise.  What initially felt like a grave catastrophe unraveled itself into a gem of a weekend.  I’m so thankful for the loved ones in my life who were there for me that night.  My friends from BSU are the real deal; I have never felt so cared for by a group of girls.

Alex, I love you, it’s that simple.  Your support alone was enough to get me through this weekend and come out on the other side blessed.  You make me feel like a princess… which is something I definitely don’t deserve but am so grateful for.  God is so good to the both of us, and I am excited for what the future brings.

Dad, you are my rock.  You really love your daughters, and it’s plain for everyone to see.  Thank you for believing in me, even when I don’t.  Mama, you are such a sweet a caring person.  I know no one to be as thoughtful as you.  Thank you for putting up with my rants and helping me see the positives in every situation. Swag.  We ARE the real deal.  I hope we stay together throughout all of college.  I cannot wait for the countless memories we will make throughout our four years.  I love you all.

Failure can overwhelm us.  It overwhelmed me when I ran off the stage that Saturday night.  With failure, we worry about disappointing others and falling short of expectations.  We worry about humiliation, and about embarrassment.  We get mad at ourselves, which often times prevents us from acknowledging the positive aspects of a situation… But what if every time we failed, we looked immediately for the good?  What if we saw failure as a gift, as a way to evaluate not only our character, but others’ as well?  That is what failure has been teaching me: to self-evaluate.

Then, there is Love. I believe truly loving someone allows you to see past the failures to the core of the person.  This kind of love knows no bounds, it penetrates any situation, and it lifts us up on mountain-tops.  We should be willing to love and support someone, even when (not if) they fall short.

I may have failed in a worldly sense this weekend (I lost more money than I won), but I gained a great deal.  In spite of the disappointments, I have won more than any of the other contestants: unfailing love and support from the people in my life.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I know just what to say this year.


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