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Berdine's Corner

"Losing to Win"

by Octavia Kierra Holloway

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

"In Tyler Perry's movie Good Deeds, Wesley Deeds introduced himself in a rather interesting way that spoke volumes to me. He said, "I was told where to and how to dress, how to cut my hair, and what I would be doing for the rest of my life by the time I was five years old. And right now, I seem to be on track. Whose tracks, I don't really know." Although this was in a movie many people try to live life according to their plan, and they get bent out of shape when the track gets rough or the path is different than what they intended. In life we go through things, and if we don't have the proper understanding or foundation some of us don’t know how to comeback a loss.

Many times we set up plans for our lives that aren't always aligned with God's will. We make plans of what career we will have, when we will get married, where we will live and what we will drive, but sometimes we find ourselves back at the drawing board working a plans B, C, D and E. This is not because God wants us to fail, but because he’s changed the course of our tracks by taking some things out of the equation, or adding some unexpected things in. Either way, when one plan isn't right we are forced to move on to the next letter in the alphabet, which can some-times be a bitter experience for us.

One lesson that I learned from my Granny is that it doesn't matter how many letters of the alphabet our plan gets assigned as long as we are persistent and continue working towards our goal. One of the last conversations I had with her was during the Fall Semester of my sophomore year in college. I was very upset because I was struggling in my Calculus II class and would be making my first B ever! I was distraught and wanted to change my major from mathematics to something easier so that I can keep up my image of being "smart." She gave me words of encouragement that I will never ever forget, "Stop stressing yourself out trying to be perfect for everybody else."

She went on to tell me that my life isn't going to always go as planned, but it doesn't matter as long as I give everything my best try. She started to tell me about some of the things she'd experienced in life so that I could comprehend how unfair things could be. For the first time, I accepted the fact that life isn't always fair, and it definitely won't always go according to plan. She encouraged me to keep on in the midst of struggle which taught me the importance of endurance and perseverance. We have to learn to persevere in spite of obstacles and adversity because the real victory comes when we are able to triumph over stumbling blocks.

Life won't always be a crystal stair, but if we learn to go in those dark places without giving up we will be victorious. If we are in the race to win we can't get off the tracks just because we slow or get being because our chance to get ahead and will be gone. I learned this by staying in that class; however, I didn't make my first B, I made my first C. I didn't let it take me out the race because I still had time to win. I kept mathematics and my major and gained lifelong friends through my study partners. The classes got harder and harder so my will to be victorious got stronger and stronger and through hard work and perseverance I graduated with honors.

One thing I failed to mention is while I was complaining about a class and wondering, "Why me?" my Granny was battling stage 4 cancer, but her philosophy was, "Why not me?" We should all adopt her philosophy. I ask, "Why not me? Why not you? Why not us?" Again, life won't always be a crystal stair. We all may have to experience the tacks and splinters of life called obstacles, and stumbling blocks. I encourage everyone to stop stressing out and trying to be perfect for everyone else. We have to learn to turn obstacles into opportunities and stumbling blocks into stepping stones. I learned from my Granny that it's ok to go through struggles as long as I don't give up. She taught me through her lecture and advice way before Fantasia told the world, "Sometimes you got to lose to win again."


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Octavia Kierra Holloway, Berdine Dillard Dennard
and Bentley Dennard the dog.