On Friday, May 27, 2016, I attended the Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) graduation ceremony at First United Methodist Church in Waco Texas. I wanted to support the students that in some small way I feel connected to. You see, this was the first year that we would award Elizabeth’s named scholarship since endowing it in December 2015. There were 31 graduates this year from MCH. The largest graduating class to date. The University of Texas has a charter school on the MCH property for the residents. Trey Oakley from MCH had called earlier in the week to tell me who had been selected for Elizabeth’s scholarship. He shared with me that “she” played drums in the praise band, had a part time job, and described her as having a free spirit. She had taken dual credit courses and would be attending McClennan Community College in the fall with a track to attend Baylor University. I loved when he described her as having a free spirit!
So, I drive to Waco, grab a bulletin and find a seat. I open the bulletin and find that the recipient of the Elizabeth Herro Dowdy Scholarship is also the Salutatorian! But the ceremony was a time of overwhelming emotion that is hard to describe. So much healing and hours of wreath making had come to this moment and the tears began to flow and my MCH family that I was sitting next to began passing me Kleenex.
So, please meet the 2016 Elizabeth Herro Dowdy Scholarship recipient Maegan (May) Wells! I enjoyed her Salutatorian speech where she shared the three things she had wanted to accomplish while she was at MCH: 1. Build a better relationship with God. 2. Build a better relationship with her parents. 3. Be happy with herself. She felt she had succeeded in reaching those goals. And the next line in her speech made me smile: She was happy that she had been her crazy self throughout her time at MCH.
I met her briefly after the ceremony and I will be praying for her and God’s blessing on her life in this next phase.
So, the keeper of my daughter’s legacy begins yet another verse with this young lady. The emotions I felt that afternoon are hard to describe…….but I felt my heart was going to burst. So much of God’s amazing grace, so much gratitude, so many blessings, flooding my heart and yet the hole in my heart for the loss of my amazing blue eyed 25 year old daughter was also very present. But on this specific day, it was if my heart had to be broken to feel the grace, the gratitude, and the joy. And it further affirmed for me that …..God is good. Yes, even in the darkest moments. And He is faithful to his promises. One of those promises is to bring beauty from the ashes……May is definitely part of that promise and part of the beauty that he has brought from my loss.
To take a phrase from Elizabeth’s bracelet…… LIVE Big May Wells, LIVE BIG!