Friday, December 31, 2010

It's Been a Long One

The picture you see was taken by one of my Kappa Sigma brothers. His name is Shengkai Su and he is from China. It has nothing to do with this post but I thought I would share it. It's cool that a college student from China can experience New years in NYC... As an American I haven't even done that.

It's New Years and I needed to write again. Something happened...something clicked in my mind as a spun around the room at 12:01am to see what everyone was doing/saying. Something really hit me. I think as I get older I'm just becoming a train wreck or an old woman. Because I almost cried. I learned what New Years was about.

I spent the evening with my family, my families work friends, and just other family friends. We had a party at my Uncle Curtis' house in his outdoor bar that he built that he likes to call "The Huckleberry Hut". I kinda like it. The Browning family has a meaning. The last name Browning has a lot behind it and I kind of know why tonight too. My dad has 4 brothers, 2 of which were there tonight making a total of 3/5 of the Browning brothers. All of them have their own character and differences but they all have something in common. Love. They love people to death and will bend over backwards to serve anyone and to put a smile on their face. I've always been told, "You're daddy is a good man." And I think that applies to all of the brothers. Their name even has weight at Duke University where the 3 brothers work. Everyone there has heard the name Browning a time or two. Speaking of Duke, to my surprise one of their work friends unexpectedly showed up at the party. I have known this man since I was a kid and it was the first time I had seen him and his family in a long time. His dad died yesterday. He was an emotional wreck to say the least. But he was damn happy to be there and to see the Browning family and the other people there. I had never seen my dad, my uncles, and this man so happy together in a time of emotional distress. I learned what true friendship is like. When I went to shake this guys hand, he hugged me. Then I saw his wife and her mouth dropped open. She couldn't believe how much I had grown up and how "beautiful" I was. How do you react to that?

Now that I gave some kind of background information mixed with current information...Lets get on to 2011.

Right before 12:00am hit everyone had a drink, whether it was soda, beer, liquor, water, or the god-awful champagne I had. Everyone stood with their individual family and namely their loved one. I of course was alone...for the 20th year of my life. The ball dropped in Times Square and the Acorn dropped in Raleigh, NC. Everyone shouted Happy New Year! and drank a sip of their drink and kissed their loved ones. I zoned out for a second and began to examine the room. Everyone was smiling, laughing, hugging each other, kissing each other, wishing each other a Happy New Year. Even those who didn't know each other that well. It sounds typical, but it was a beautiful moment in my eyes. I learned what New Years was all about.

New Years isn't the modern holiday where you get plastered and make an ass of yourself. It's a celebration of life. It's a moment you share with those around you where you know that you made it just another year. You did it, you survived. Despite your ups and downs, you are still standing right there in that moment, the very first second of the beginning of a New Year. It's a celebration. At the same time it's a time of letting go. You are letting go and moving on from everything that happened in the previous year. It's a wrap up. It's the bow on the package, the rubber band around the envelope full of files.

For me it was definitely a time of putting the rubber band around an envelope full of files. The incredibly high highs that I have experienced this year were trumped by the lows that I have had, if I'm being honest. This has been one of the hardest, craziest, most emotional years of my life. I'm going to reflect a little:
  • I was able to perform in my first college production
  • I became a founding father of the Rho-Eta chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity
  • Finished out my freshman year of college
  • Lost a scholarship
  • Was able to serve along side Orange Team with Student Life for the entire summer
  • Traveled to & through 11 states during the summer
  • Missed my annual family vacation
  • Became a Resident Assistant to 48 awesome freshman guys
  • Auditioned, was called back, and missed getting the lead role in Our Town
  • Auditioned, was called back, and missed getting cast in the world premier of Love/Sick
  • Auditioned, was called back, and missed getting cast in True West
  • Auditioned, was called back, read 5 times for the lead, and missed getting the part in the short HPU film Connected
  • Became incredibly overwhelmed by being in classes, theatre, an RA, and in a fraternity
  • Didn't get the GPA I needed to get my scholarship back
  • Lost one of my residents, John Evans Lacey
It's been a tough one as you can see. I'm not throwing myself a pity party by any means. But I have dealt with some stuff, and it has been physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. I would rather not reflect on the year 2010 and in the words of Cee-Lo Green... "Forget You".
All I can say is that I have experienced every emotion possible and have learned a lot about life and especially myself. But what I really ask myself is, "God, what in the world are you preparing me for? What is next for me, really?" I have tried to figure it out, and obviously I can't do that so I guess I will have to wait it out.

So, I think I really just rambled a lot...but I got to write it out. So here's to a New Year...I'm thankful for the one I just got to experience but I really hope God reveals what He has been preparing me for this year. I need it. So, how was your year? Think you know what you're being prepared for?
I saw Natasha Bedingfield perform this song on New Year's Rockin Eve with Dick Clark tonight. I think it's a great song to end with. Here's a video with the song and lyrics:

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Angel

This is John Evans Lacey. I met John in late August when he moved into Blessing Hall room 503-1 at High Point University. He was a charming guy with a great smile and has a lot of character. As his Resident Assistant, I was excited to meet him. I was lucky to have a resident like John for the school year.

John Lacey died on December 21, 2010 from a seizure. He died, he's dead, he is gone, he is not here, he is with the Lord.

I keep having to remind myself of this as the days go on. Finding out this information was like a piece of news that felt like a joke, like Ashton Kutcher and MTV camera's were going to pop out to tell me I've been Punk'd. It didn't fully hit me until today when I was at his memorial service. I've never been to a memorial for someone that is around my age, or better yet younger than me.

At John's service his dad, stepdad, and sister all shared things about John and memories they had with him. While his sister shared the comedic and very true characteristics of John, his dad shared the deeper characteristics. He described him as a prism that expanded and presented different colors of light. Those colors: yellow, blue, and red. He gave an explanation for why John can be described in those 3 colors and each reason was remarkable and true. His last thoughts though were that now, John can't give off those colors any more....but tomorrow on Christmas day he will be represented with the color white... snow. He will be our Christmas Angel.

The memorial service really touched me and was hard to sit through. I haven't cried that much since I left my team of Student Life staff this past summer.

I've said this before and I will say it again: As an RA, my residents are like my little brothers, and I lost one. Residents really mean that much to me and I didn't realize it until this point. I would say that I am one of the only RA's on campus to know all of his residents names, what individual room they live in, and for the most part where they are from. I do take pride in that, I won't lie. And I've always felt like since all 48 of my residents are younger than me, that I have to look out for them. Be there as a mentor in some way. And I don't know why but I feel like I failed with John even though death is out of human hands. I don't know why I feel that way and I know I didn't fail, it's just how I feel. I know a lot about my residents for the most part, some more than others. When it came to John, I knew him. I knew him decently. However, it hurts because I know I didn't get to know him well enough and never got the chance to truly invest into him. Or at least, that's what I think. I miss the kid so much already. The family is down one- to 47.

It's hard. I don't know what to think or feel honestly. When we get back to High Point I know it will be harder. We have to get used to him not being on the hall, and then a memorial service for him. I don't know whether to be an "RA" and be there for residents, or go with my emotions and let the moment guide me. I think I have an answer to it now after today.

At the service John Lacey's sister expressed how John lived in the moment and for the moment. He soaked up life and everything going on around him. That's what I need to do. Live like John. Live in the moment always. Soak up and enjoy everything going on around me. Smile. Love on everyone I come in contact with. Shine a light in this dark world. Offer a glimmer of hope during hopelessness. Be like John.

I don't know what I was trying to accomplish with this. I just needed to speak, or express myself or whatever. So, I will leave you with a little something: Take time to invest in everyone you know. Find out as much as you can about them and pour into their life. Live in the moment. Smile and be happy and enjoy everything. Be a light in this dark world and trust in the Lord. God is sovereign. He know's what is going on always where as we don't always have answers.

Rest in Peace: John Evans Lacey

August 18, 1991 - December 21, 2010

A Christmas Angel