One late afternoon Courage was taking a stroll when she decided to rest a little.
“May I have this sit please?” Courage smiled to the young lady who was slouching dejectedly on the bench.
“Sure.” the young lady replied moving to the side.
“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it? I am Courage,” she said, extending her hand.
“Courage? Hmm I probably need a good portion of that in my life right now. Happy is the name.” The young lady mumbled in response.
“Happy, what a lovely name though you certainly don’t look very happy right now. Is something amiss?”
Happy stared at the middle-aged woman seated beside her and snorted to herself. But something about her made Happy want to pour a little of her heart out. Lord knows she needed a shoulder to lean on.
“I have been sitting here, contemplating why most of my dreams have all fallen by the wayside and seemingly died a natural death.”
“Well, that’s good. Everyone needs a little bit of self-reflection once in a while. So what’s your verdict? What is hindering you?”
“I believe its fear. I am scared that if I tell my story, people will scrutinise and undress every word I say. If I show my face, they will point out my flaws and laugh at the crookedness of my teeth. If I cry, they will think I am weak, and if I laugh, they will see the wrinkles etched on my face. If I run, they will see how slow I am, and if I try and fail, they will mock me.”
“Oh Happy, why do you care so much about what others think? Are they walking in your shoes? It’s your life, is it not?” Courage reprimanded as a fit of anger swept through her entire body. For the life of her, she could not understand why a beautiful young lady like Happy would allow fear to derail her destiny to this extent. Perhaps God had directed her to this bench for a reason,
“Young lady, I want you to listen to me and listen well.” Couraged chided in a stern voice.
“Do not entertain fear because it will consume you and paralyse you. Before you know it, doubt sneaks hand-in-hand with self-disqualification and seal the nail in the coffin.
“You will begin to question everything about your self-worth until it evaporates and leaves you exposed. Happy tell me this-do you think you have the potential to break limitations and change the trajectory of your life? Do you believe there is something unique and special about you or you are just another headless chicken walking the earth?”
Happy pondered on this for a moment then sighed in dejection,
” I am not sure, but I feel like I stand no chance of achieving anything significant in life. Too many things work against me. For one, I do not come from a well to do family, and I am not that well educated. No one in my family has accomplished anything significant, and if that’s not enough, my appearance is way below standard plus my speech is far from eloquent. Everything about my background and my life screams three words – Not a chance!”
As she sat there, Courage could not believe her ears. For a moment, she contemplated slapping some sense into the young woman beside her.
“It’s not that I like being afraid,” -Happy continued in a shaky and defeated voice- “actually I despise fear yet I still find myself running into its embrace every time without hesitation or second thoughts. What is wrong with me?” Happy mourned sullenly burying her face in her hands.
When she finally lifted her head, she was taken aback by the big grin on Courages’s lips. What a prick! Happy thought to herself, feeling offended.
“Oh, Happy!” Courage exclaimed, reaching for a mirror in her purse. “I am glad that despite your earlier rhetoric, you know precisely what is holding you hostage. That alone is half the solution which is a great start and the reason for my smile. The remaining half is for you to face your fears. Unfortunately, no one can be brave on your behalf. It’s one path that you will have to walk on your own.” She said this handing the mirror to Happy, who gave her a sceptical look before accepting it.
“Take a look in the mirror and tell me what you see?” -she urged -“do you think the person looking at you can accomplish exceptional things?”
“Well obviously if I did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now would we?”
Couraged shook her head in disagreement, “Do you know that within you there is an abundant supply of all the boldness and strength you need to overcome any fear? You do not need other peoples validation, you must validate yourself. Live your life to the fullest, and if you fail, dust yourself get up and try again. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but its choosing to overlook the fear and press onwards. Faith is what you need my dear. Believe in yourself, and you can accomplish anything you set in your heart to do. You owe it to yourself to try. After all, unless you leap from the mountaintop, you will never know if you can fly or not. So my advice is to take a chance and see how far you go. Do not be afraid of failure, it happens to everyone, including the very best of us.”
Happy sat there staring at her reflection in the mirror, every word Courage said began to sink deep within. Slowly a sense of peace washed through her entire body and from deep with hope came to life.
“Wow” breathed Happy “thank you, I never thought of it like that. Faith instead of fear. Surely I can do this! Enough is enough. From now on, I am going to face all my fears. Even now, as I am talking, I can feel my heart beating like a raging storm in my chest, but for once, I will not permit that fear to hold me back. I will try, and if I fail, I will keep trying until I get it right!”
Courage stood up and dusted invisible wrinkles from her dress as she smiled down at Happy.
“That’s the spirit, remember to always look on the bright side of life and believe in yourself. Fear is an enemy of progress that attracts negativity like a magnet. So distance yourself from it. It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Happy dearest. Here is my number keep in touch.”
“Thank you Maam, I believe you have just changed my life. God bless you, Ms Courage” Happy replied, accepting the card. What a day she thought to herself, a cheeky smile lighting up her face.