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I have had to deal with the fear that most writers face in this year more than I have in any other year. I have had the painful pleasure to learn from the blank pages. The blank page is a symbol of all the hopes and possibilities that could fill those plain pages. One cannot look pass the blank page without seeing the seemingly grim stares. But the artist, who with words intending to weave his/his story on such hostility, sees the page as the canvass on which to paint, or the stage from which the story unfolds.
The blank page taught me great lessons, nuggets which are true of all beginnings. It is in such I find cause to share the dread and thrills of been faced with a fresh beginnings on another 31st December;
- Fear connects us to our humanity but tasks us to a meaningful journey. It is a notable quote of the once British Conservative politician, writer and aristocrat who twice served as Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, that “Fear makes us feel our humanity.” Humanity hopes and favours a grandeur narrative. The blank page offers an amazing opportunity to be human in hope and aspirations. I however presume nothing is as scary as the thought that, one is not able to fulfill their hopes or is not apt to the superhero narratives in their minds. We all have hopes of new beginnings and the torments that these hopes might never be fulfilled do cause us to feel the frailty of our humanity. The beauty of such dread however is that it is the greatest prompter of learning and the need for humility. Fear has proven to be a great tool employed by others to connect to a meaningful journey, one that requires more learning and humility. When faced with the dread of a blank page because the hopes your humanity wields might not be fulfilled, pulse and learn, strategize and confront those fears.
- Courage is not the absence of fear. We all know this to be true. Nelson Mandela however chipped it better in our memories with his words, “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.” Blank pages offer me the lessons of perhaps another page of trying to find my rhythm. I have had people appreciating things I write, I have had others criticizing my work and this is true for most of us reading this now. Our best efforts may be ridiculed by others, recognized by no one but must it cause us to give up? Of course not! History has taught us time and over again that, fortune favours the bold! Keep pursing for the old hymn provides counsel, “Keep the fire burning, and kindle it with care.” It is thus of us to be present to write, paint, and pursue whatever endeavour new beginnings offer at the risk of making mistakes, being ridiculed or never noticed because indeed all the people who broke through confronted the blank page at a point in their lives.
- Faith is non-negotiable. Our progressive humanity tends towards reasoning, which is by no means wrong. The truth however remains that reasoning cannot explain all the possibility of tomorrow. Evidence for rational thinking doesn’t exist in tomorrow; it is a product of history. One can thus approach the future in faith as a rational option. Steve Jobs obviously wasn’t a philosophy but had an amazing contribution to the role of faith in life; “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path.”
In summary, the feeling of having an incredible opportunity and yet approaching such with the hesitation of fear of not fully maximizing such options are human. We must however confront the blank pages with courage and faith. I pray humanity’s progress in the year ahead.