Underdogs. Last second shots. A “Cinderella Story” in the middle of March Magic!
That’s right. Not March Madness. This is March Magic. Specifically, March 19. Magic.
On March 19, 1999, wheels touched down at JFK Airport and the slipper fit as our 10 year-old Russian princess landed in America. A little girl from humble beginnings gets a second chance at life. Soon she adopts our 4-bedroom Kentucky castle as her new home, and a brother and sister embrace her with more hugs and kisses than she has felt in her entire life.
Sixteen Marches have come and gone. Some of the sixteen were sweet. Some Marches were madness. But from her first home in the basketball state of Kentucky to our new home along Tobacco Road in North Carolina we prayed that our own “Cinderella Story” could…go…all…the…way!
But we didn’t count on some of the upsets. Or how far into the “far country” she might go pursuing her own goals. If we thought her decision to leave home and strike out on her own after her freshman year of college was agonizing, it was nothing compared to the next 3 years with little to no communication.
One bad decision led to another. Everything imaginable went wrong…and then some. And we could only watch the self-destruction helplessly from a distance.
Sometimes the slipper fits, Cinderella finds Prince Charming, there is no fault in our stars, and everything falls into place.
But sometimes the slipper is lost, and the fairy tale ends. Sometimes the clock strikes midnight and no matter how hard the Prince looks for her, Cinderella goes home wearing rags again. Sometimes it just seems hopeless.
And yet, just when things seem hopeless, that’s precisely when God sends a glimmer of hope. You can see it in a bassinette floating on the Nile River, or in the glimmer of a star over Bethlehem, or when the Christ says to a criminal “Today you will be with me in paradise.” And you might even see it in the tears rolling down the cheeks of a 26-year-old daughter who’s finally ready to come back home.
So on March 19, 2015, when wheels touched down again in our driveway for the first time in a long time, our oldest got out carrying her remaining worldly possessions in the purse slung over her shoulder. Sixteen Marches had come and gone and another ugly season was in the books. But even though this one went down in the “loss” column, now she has a home court advantage again, and so hope springs eternal for the dream of turning things around next year.
Every March, after the madness, some look ahead and talk about a “rebuilding year” and how difficult it will be. It’s never easy. In fact, it might not even happen.
But we’re going to give it our best shot because we’ve been to the ball. We’ve experienced the thrill of March Magic before, and we want to see Cinderella dance again.