People’s opinions are just that opinions. I can remember like it was yesterday–being crowned Miss South Carolina–at the moment of the announcement–it seemed so surreal. The lights flashing, people clapping, and the music playing. Somehow I walked and waved and had the inner thoughts of, “Wow, wow, wow. I can hardly believe it happened. I actually won!” There was a flurry of emotion, relief, excitement and adrenaline all at one time. It seemed that it took forever for the realness to set in. After the hugs and congratulations from all the contestants, I finally got to see my parents, sister and my extended family. It was so good to get to hug them and celebrate an accomplishment, that they not only had faithfully supported me in, but had gone over and above in every way to provide the best opportunity for me to succeed. I have to mention here, my sister has always been my biggest cheerleader!
There is a moment that stands out to me as vividly as hearing my name called. It is when my dad took the opportunity to take me aside for a private moment to say some very meaningful words to me. As the years have gone by I have recognized just how WISE those words were for many reasons. I would like to share them with you. He said, “Sherry, we all couldn’t be more proud of you! I love you and you have worked hard and are very deserving. We all praise God for allowing you this accomplishment, but I would like to remind you of a few things. First, every girl on this stage probably worked equally as hard but is very disappointed. Don’t forget that. And second, understand, you won based on six people’s opinion. It is not the whole world’s opinion, so with that being said, a different week and six different judges, there may have been another winner.” At first, I was like, “What???” Then I realized, he desired for me to stay grounded. I had a crown on my head, but he really did not want it to change me!! I got it. He was being a very wise father by living Proverbs 25:11 which states, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” He realized that, with success, the danger of pride can set in very quickly.
Funny how two months later standing on the stage in Atlantic City at the Miss America pageant, I was absorbing the loss of coming so close to winning, to the point of a tie, and coming up short. My Dad once again pulled me to the side. He said almost the exact same words, “Sherry, we could not be more proud of you. I know that you are disappointed. You have worked extremely hard, you have represented our family so well but, more importantly, our state. I know you did not win, but you are still our winner. Please don’t forget, a different week and a different group of judges, you may have been Miss America. It is not the world’s opinion. It is 6 people. God has a plan.”
Wow, you cannot believe how that took away so much of the sting of losing. My dad’s words were so comforting and healing, almost immediately. I have been able to take those words from my dad, which were so wise, and use them with our own children. Even though none of them have competed in pageants, there are times they have been picked over to play for their golf teams. I have been able to point to, “it is just the opinion of one person” not the world. I have also been able to say the exact same things when they have won tournaments and when they have lost. I so appreciate wise parents who spoke wise words at just the right time.
My dad never competed in sports and certainly not pageants,(haha) but he is Wise. He was proud of me but recognized the dangers of success and how pride can creep in and take hold. I am so grateful for the times my parents, both of them, spoke Godly wisdom into my life. I encourage everyone reading–parents, grandparents, and kids………read God’s word…know what it says and teaches……it is an instruction book for life……especially the book of Proverbs. There is so much wisdom and the best advice you could ever want is from an All knowing, All loving God.