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Thinking About, Faith
This is from a series of essays I wrote about various subjects I was thinking about. It is about having faith in oneself.
M Bradley McCauley
Mother, grandmother, writer, traveler, wisdom seeker. I've been writing for as long as I can remember,in many genres. Writing is something I do because I have to. It's as much a part of who I am as anything else.
Thinking About, Faith
M Bradley McCauley
Not the religious, trust in God faith, but faith in oneself. Believing in yourself to the extent you are willing to face the possibility of criticism or failure. To overcome self inflicted doubts that chip away at your ego, takes courage. It is what I need at this time of my life. Faith, the courage to step out and face the possibility of failure.
What I am about to undertake is a bold step for me, a monumental test of faith. I am stepping into a world of potential rejection and critisism. If for a moment I quiver with a tinge of fear, I tell myself it is only a small
stroke on the canvas of my life. It is with slightly trembling hands that I lift the palette, blend the colors, and envision the portrait of my future.
For a moment I pull out the old portraits framed in my memory. One is of a wife and mother surrounded by six small children. It is a watercolor, the soft brush strokes of love mingling with glowing accents of pride. Next is the
career woman leading groups of senior citizens on exciting tours. This is a collage of brightly colored adventures.
It is an unfinished work that holds my appraising eye. The Writer. The background of forgotten manuscripts creates a gray skyline of neglected ambitions. Poems without meter, plays without plots, novels without twists, and syntax without style, blend with time worn clichés. Timid hands of a faithless amateur sketched this unfinished portrait. There are no splashes of creative genius, only lack luster dabs at lifeless prose.
Writing was something I did because I had to. Words formed in my mind and nagged at me until I put them on paper. Characters created scenarios that blasted me until I released their voices. The muse became my nemesis, cajoling me with pretentious ideas of literary worth. I would write until the urge was spent, then place the pages into a file drawer. Over the years they were transferred to a trunk. Fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of rejection sealed the trunk. I had no faith in my talent.
Placating my Muse was sometimes a battle. I was too busy raising a family, having a career, and earning a living. I made false promises. "When I have more time", "when things slow down," I silently communicated to the Muse.
Feeble attempts were made with notations in a journal and letters to family. I wrote a play. It's in the trunk. I created a poem. It's in the trunk. I scribbled philosophy, started a novel, developed a fairy tale for my grandchildren. They all reside in the trunk.
As my mind's eye stares at the unfinished portrait I ask myself what is the worst that can happen? Rejection slips from editors, bad reviews from critics? I can't get rejection slips or bad reviews if I never send anything to be published. The worst thing that can happen is that I can fail as a writer. Would that be so devastating? Should I allow fear of failure to rob me of the courage to try?
Fear of failure is a lack of faith. It can inhibit the ideas of an inventor; still the voice of a singer; blind the eyes of an artist; barricade the path of an adventurer. It can also be the catalyst to success. It can drive one to do their best. Facing the fear of failure plants the seeds of faith that can become the landscape of dreams.
In the final analysis, I realize that leaving the portrait unfinished would be the worst failure. It is with this thought in mind that I have decided to dip my brush in the vibrant colors of faith, and boldly paint the portrait
of the writer.
"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures"
-- Henry Ward Beecher
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"Good poem, very encouraging to fainting hearts. I wonder if you will like me to publish in our church magazine." -- dele teit, Eko, Lagos, Nigeria.
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© 1999 M Bradley McCauley
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