Monday, May 23, 2011

Comfort & Joy

I'm not sure I was prepared for the flood of emotions that swept over me today when entering the high school.  It still isn't easy being there, as my memories are of Austin and the few short but sweet months spent with him there as a freshman.  As I arrived, students were switching classes so I was swarmed with dozens of teenagers, all reminding me of Austin.

Today was "Awards Day" at the high school where seniors were recognized with scholarships from area organizations and businesses.  As this was our first year to award someone through Austin's Legacy, I was there to make the presentation.  Although my family was shortly behind me, I arrived first and made the walk alone into the gym.  I used the time to review the speech I'd prepared and look over the paperwork for the hundredth time. 

I began to say a prayer to myself, alone on the bleachers, asking for peace and strength to get through this so that we could honor Austin and not let my emotions get in the way.  Soon, Tim was by my side and instantly began to put me at ease.  Shortly after one of my former teachers arrived with a warm smile and encouraging hug.  Then, I was added with the reassurance from my mom and sister Raven's arrival.  Right before the program began, Mrs. Bevil, who has been so supportive both as a mentor for Austin and to us since his passing, came up to greet and thank us for being there.  I can't help but feel that they were all sent just at the right moment to prepare me for the presentation.

Once they called us to the podium, the rest is a bit of a blur but I think I managed to get out most of what I wanted to say.  I was able to share a bit of who Austin was with the crowd, why we formed this scholarship and how impressed we were with the recipient.  To see Kami smiling on the floor beside me and feeling her gratitude was all I needed to know this was meant to be.  I truly don't think we could've selected a more deserving student and I wish her the best for a bright and successful future.  I know that she appreciates this gift and will represent Austin's Legacy well.

Miss Kami Compton, 2011 Austin's Legacy Scholarship Recipient
Once home and having the opportunity to reflect back on the day's events, I was reminded of the scripture, "I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." -Jeremiah 31:13. 

While we will forever miss Austin, and there will always be a sadness in that loss; it is so comforting to know he will be remembered and honored through this scholarship. It was a JOY to reward another deserving youth, who is actively making a difference in this world.



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