I really thought I won..

Junior Miss Pageant - 1979 - it wasn't just a beauty pageant, we were reminded by the director... over and over.  There was a fitness routine (I wasn't terribly coordinated.), a talent competition (I wasn't the greatest singer.), points given for academic achievement (My grades were... okay.), an evening gown competition (I wore my prom dress.) and THE INTERVIEW (I do love to talk.)

I thought I was a shoe-in... then we began the week of practice.  The fitness routine was more like a college dance team performance.  There were several girls with a 4.0 GPA, really?  I think the question in the interview that stumped me was about how to improve the world... World peace is always the best answer, right?  I did not fall during the evening gown competition.  I must proudly say that I sang my heart out as intently as Olivia Newton John with, "Hopefully devoted to You."  Picture this:  I wore my mom's cheerleading outfit from the 50's; yes the skirt hit just below my calf.  Get this cheesy decision - I sang to the my giant teddy bear that somebody won for me at the county fair.  You get it, right, a high school girl thinking of going away to college, but so committed to her teddy bear and her childhood - I obviously thought it was a tender idea that would surely pull at the judges' heartstrings.

There we all were lined up on the stage with the announcer waving the card with the names of the four runners' up and the winner!  She reminds us, and the crowd, that this pageant was a scholarship award, not a beauty contest (good news for me).  The purpose was to award a winner for being successful in all the judged categories.  She went on to explain each category with clarity so that everyone could fully appreciate the judges' scoring decisions.

Just come on... with the winner.  You see, the announcer was standing just in front of me.  Back then my vision was a solid 20-20.  I could see the list of names that she continued to wave as she talked.  I knew the names were surely listed from bottom to top - top name, of course being the new Cookeville Junior Miss winner.  From what I could make out, the first name looked to be 4 or 5 letters, and, with a little anticipation, I realized the last name looked reasonably long... could it be... Susan Southerlan... was that an "S" I saw beginning the last name?  I quickly scanned the stage... I was certain I was the only girl with a last name beginning with "S" that was reasonably long. Finally, we were ready for the results.
4th runner up - not me - was it really possible?
3rd runner up - not me - my song must have been really good..
2nd runner up - not me - my parents are going to be so proud..
1st runner up - not me - oh no, I don't have a speech prepared.
and the winner is...
Marty Hefflelfinger

Are you sighing with me?  Did the wind just woosh out of your sails?  Do you feel salty tears welling up in your eyes?  Disappointed...for sure; devastated... absolutely; defeated... only for moments.

Funny how quickly the full feelings I experienced that evening flood back over me so clearly some.. gulp... 35 years later. 

Could I (or you) begin even in this moment to list many disappointments that have come with this life?  Some, like the Junior Miss pageant, offer a bit of a giggle now.  Some offer a moment of pause, and then some, still sting with a vengeance. 

I've been hanging out in the Old Testament recently... in the prophets..  Isaiah spoke with such authority and intensity.  The first 39 chapters seem to focus on the judgment on Judah calling them to repentance while the last 27 offer God's plan for restoration and ultimately salvation through Jesus.   I love verse 23 of chapter 49 - Isaiah has spent many words establishing the power of God and what HE can do to the enemies of Israel as they trust HIS leadership and plan, then I almost here Isaiah whisper in my (and your) ear...

Then you will know that I am the Lord;
    those who hope in me will not be disappointed.

It really is that simple, isn't it?  We who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed.  He will not fail us, He will not forsake us, He will always be faithful, He will always keep His word. 
Today may be the very day you need to once again acknowledge the reality of the fact that IF you have chosen to follow HIM, no matter what, our hope in HIM is absolute and we will NOT be disappointed...

And the winner is...  _ _ _ _ _     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _!!

1 comment

  1. This came at such a good time! Thank for you sharing, Susan