Perspective: Joy in the midst of tragedy

By Kimberlee Hauss

“Yours will be just as ‘Royal’ – after all, you are the daughter of the King! You are our Princess.”

After rolling out of bed at 4:45 a.m. to watch Catherine Middleton fulfill every little girl’s dream of becoming a princess, I read this post from my grandmother on my Facebook wall. (Yes, my grandmother is an avid Facebook user.)

I knew Prince William and Kate were getting married, but to be honest I had not kept up with the specifics. I probably would have stayed in bed had I not been on a trip with friends who were adamant about eating scones and drinking coffee while “attending” the ceremony in their pajamas. Apparently, we were not alone in watching. An estimated one-third of the world tuned in to the royal wedding, and every post I read on Facebook had something to do with Kate and William.

“Why in the world would anyone get up to watch that wedding?” my fiancé asked the night before the big event.

It’s hard for men to understand this concept so I did not attempt to answer him, but the reason women and girls all over the world woke up early to watch is quite simple: Every little girl dreams of one day walking down the aisle on her father’s arm, dressed in white, ready to say “yes” to her prince charming. While many girls grow up to marry the man of their dreams, few leave the ceremony an actual princess.

Watching the royal wedding is not really about Prince William and Princess Kate. It’s about us. For one morning, we can pretend to live the fairytale of walking down the aisle as a commoner and leaving as HRH — Her Royal Highness. We can escape reality for a little while and bask in the dream of becoming a princess.

But as I drowsily laid in bed watching Catherine and William exchange their vows, I couldn’t help but think of the sad reality that changed the lives of many less than 48 hours before the wedding. On April 23, I received a text message from a friend, saying her brother-in-law’s cousin had died in her house from the E-4 tornado that swept across the South, killing many others in its path.

Shortly thereafter, I received a call from my fiancé saying the tornado had hit his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and destroyed much of the city. Thankfully, his family was OK, but others were not so fortunate and the death toll was rising.

On “Good Morning America” the next day, the juxtaposition of the tornadoes and the royal wedding was glaringly awkward. The hosts briefly touched on the tragedy that took the lives of more than 300 people, but then moved quickly on to the wedding preparations of the soon-to-be princess. All of a sudden, talking about scones, wedding dresses and tiaras seemed trivial.

And yet such is life – full of joy and tragedy. This could not be more obvious in my own life. In 71 days, I will walk down an aisle on my daddy’s arm, ready to start a life with my prince charming. I believe it will be one of the happiest moments in my life – a time of joy and celebration. But as we move to Tuscaloosa to begin that life together, we will be surrounded by the destruction left by such a storm – a constant reminder of the sorrow and tragedy of living in a fallen world. However, I can rejoice in the good times and take comfort in the bad, knowing the Lord has ordained the steps of all men. After all, going through tough times only makes the joys in life that much sweeter.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.