"Snippet" -- a small piece or brief extract
This post is not about Mama -- exactly. Thoughts of her occupy my mind often, and all the more with her "Celebration of Life" service this Sunday. Yesterday was a hard day. Maybe because of that, maybe hormones, maybe my thyroid medicine change -- probably a combination of all that (and more). Losing is hard. Losing pets, losing people, losing at contests, losing anything is really difficult. But, it is part of life. We have to learn to lose well so we can win well. Losing keeps us humble, makes us appreciate the wins when they come, reminds us what NO or GRIEF or LAST PLACE feels like so that we can live in gratitude for all we have, fully enjoying YES or FIRST PLACE when it comes. Sometimes we get lucky straight out of the gate. Sometimes it takes long hours and lots of practice.
I've been reflecting on this quite a lot lately -- not just for me, as you can see from the photos. My niece and nephew have been experiencing this a lot recently. They were both local and state winners in our NCRA Young Authors Project. It was my nephew's first time winning, although he has written for 3 years now. My niece has won every single time -- it's been hard for him, but he's been such a trouper and has celebrated every win for her and with her, even though he didn't win. He wasn't going to write this year. It took lots of talking to convince him. I was so thrilled when he was finally a winner, and I love his poem, Magnified Light. Perhaps I'll feature it soon on my blog.
They both entered poems in the local AR Ammons poetry contest. Once again, niece won 2 honorable mentions and nephew -- nothing.
This weekend, they both participated in their first karate tournament. (Please forgive my ignorance of vocabulary if I use something improperly -- this is all new to me. . .) When they went into the ring, the first thing they had to do was demonstrate their bow skills. Nephew was reticent, but tried his best. He took last place in that event. Niece totally drew a blank in the ring, and even when the judges encouraged her and walked her through step by step, she still couldn't perform well. She took last place. There were tears of failure and disappointment on her part, but she still had two events to go. She brought me her bronze medal, wiped her tears, took a deep breath and stepped right back into the ring, taking 2nd place in Form, while her brother took FIRST place in that event! She brought me her silver medal and suited up for sparring, in which she took FIRST place. I've been proud of young people so many times in my teaching career, but never any prouder than I was of her (and her brother) on Saturday! One of the judges sought her out after their division and commented how proud he was of her for sticking with it and he reminded her that she went from last place to first place because she stuck with it! Perseverance and resilience emanated from her and when I asked her afterward if she was glad it was over, she said, "NO! I'm ready to go again!" Losing builds resilience and resilience brings courage and eventually perseverance brings WINS, and the confidence to try again.
It happened again on Sunday. She was to read her entry aloud at our small celebration gathering, honoring the NCRA Young Author winners for our local association. When she stood up to read, she got in her feelings and got teary. It took her a few tries, but she read her entire piece, to lots of cheers from the small audience! Resilience! Perseverance!
It applies to me, too, in my writing -- I've been writing and entering every contest I could for over a year now, with nothing but no's and no mentions and losses. Then, just a few weeks ago, I had a win in 50 Precious Words. Then I entered a birthday writing contest -- no luck, another loss. Most recently, I am thrilled to say I was named an Honorable Mention in the SpringFling KidLit writing contest, but many of my friends were not named this time. While my heart hurts for them, I know they are building resilience -- we are ALL building resilience. A yes today can be a no tomorrow, and a no today can lead to a yes! We must persevere and build our resilience so when the big YES comes, we'll be ready, and we'll be humble, and we'll be grateful.
And while it's not about Mama, I told my niece Sunday, "Your grandma would be so very proud of you. I know she's about to bust!" And it's true. I wish she were here to experience all the wins and to "encourage" us when we lose with her pragmatic response, "Oh well, that's life." But I know she is proud and as she said in her letter to us, "whatever you endeavor to do in the future go for the mountain tops, stars, space, etc. and I'll be there in spirit supporting you every step of the way." Thanks for the support, Mama!
And to all my writing friends that feel the sting of disappointment today, tomorrow is a new day (and Write Mentor mentorships will be announced and PBChat apps are due) and there are more and more and more opportunities for wins, losses, resilience, and perseverance! Good luck, and don't give up!
I've been a teacher of K-3 students for over 20 years; I'm also a writer of poems, short stories, devotionals and picture books. I'm wife to an amazing husband and mom to Sparkles, Mocha, and Rusty -- our feline fur babies . I love reading, writing, singing and listening to music. I enjoy nature, Bible study and spending time with friends and family!
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