“I LEARNED THAT COURAGE WAS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR, BUT THE TRIUMPH OVER IT. THE BRAVE MAN IS NOT HE WHO DOES NOT FEEL AFRAID, BUT HE WHO CONQUERS THAT FEAR.” ––Nelson Mandela
As I pondered what to post on my first blog post for Austen Authors, I had to ask, what would the readers like to hear? Although I read a lot, I am no historian and do not have the years of research to back up some event or custom from Austen’s time. I am fairly new to Jane Austen as well, being only reintroduced in January 2012, so I can’t say that I could offer readers great insight into her works either. I thought maybe I could write something witty and make you all laugh, but that is not my strength. I chose instead to blog in the same manner that I write all my blog posts on www.heyladypublications.com. After all, I have been blogging for over 2 years now. I am not witty, but I have learned a lot in my life, and these life lessons have made me who I am. These life lessons are usually what prompts me to write a blog post so I thought I would take you on a journey of self-discovery into something that moved me. I usually can tie the life lesson into my writing. Let us see how I do with this topic.
This week, I am pondering the great evil presence in all of our lives: Fear. This life lesson is evil and poisonous to our souls. Of all the villains I have ever written into my stories, Wickham, Lady Catherine, Caroline Bingley, and soon you will meet Mr. Broadbent (from Inspired by Grace, due to be published in May 2015), there is always one motivator in their sinister plans: Fear. It is a powerful foe for sure. Often the beast carries multiple heads of lust, greed, deceit, and selfishness, but in the core of the beast is fear. Fear is the lub and the dub, the very heartbeat, of every foe’s existence. Fear is also only fed by fear. The surest way to give it power is to be afraid. The only sure way to fight the beast is with the sword of faith. I’m not trying to get all religious here. I’m saying that whatever you put your faith in––whether it be a personal quest for knowledge, the belief in the goodness of people, your preparation, the love and support of friends and family, or perhaps the old-fashioned faith in God––where faith is, fear cannot exist.
I recently bought a book on a whim on the life of Nelson Mandela. He was a South African President in the late 1990’s and even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 as well as the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is known as a revolutionary philanthropist. One quote that really touched me was this one: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
As I ponder this thought, and correlating it to the villains of the books we read as well as the villain in our lives called Fear, I wondered, where would my book be without fear? In every good book, there has to be conflict. There has to be opposition. There has to be a way for the characters that we have fallen in love with to prove themselves. In a romance novel, the build up is seeing them start to fall in love, and just when we think the hero will propose and they have that first kiss, something happens that separates them, leading the reader into turmoil as to whether or not the happily-ever-after really will happen. Is that not true in our lives as well? We too must face trials and tribulations. We too will have to come face to face with things like inadequacies, financial struggles, unemployment, and we cannot forget the favorite tool that the beast, Fear, has in his tool belt, change. Without these hurdles, change especially, we would never have our “plot” climax and therefore the downhill ride to our happily-ever-after would be in question. It is this climaxed moment when we think it could not get any worse, when misunderstandings abound and our hearts are full of trepidation, that our true character is decided. At this peak moment, when we think all is lost, do we put the book down, or do we read on? For those of you who read on, you fought the beast of fear. You yielded the sword of faith and pierced the beast down. Your hope for a happily-ever-after made you put one foot in front of the other which eventually led to triumph.
It is not because you had no fear that you triumphed. It was because you battled that fear and conquered it. That is what real courage is. Where there is no conflict, there can be no battle, and without a battle, there is no victory.
So for those of you who are afraid, no matter what shape that particular beast is in your life, have faith in yourself; that particular sword is sharp and true. You have survived, and as long as you don’t put the book down, your happily-ever-after will always come.