As Ella promises to remember her mother’s statement, I thought, courage doesn’t often come neatly packaged with a fairy tale ending, but still there is much to be learned from this story.
by, Becky j Miller
In 1857, the Grimm Brothers penned the original Cinderella story. In their version while on her deathbed, Cinderella’s mother says these final words to her only daughter, “Dear child, be good and pious, and then the good God will always protect you, and I will look down on you from heaven and be near you.”
It has been awhile since I watched Walt Disney’s version of the story, but I do not remember Cinderella’s mother being part of the story line. However, the 2015 remake starring Lily James offers a nod to the original Grimm Brothers version in a heart-wrenching scene between Ella and her dreadfully ill mother.
Ella’s mother offers words of comfort to her cherished daughter, “Ella, I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. ‘Have courage and be kind’.” As Ella promises to remember her mother’s statement, I thought, courage doesn’t often come neatly packaged with a fairy tale ending, but still there is much to be learned from this story.
Our lives may not exactly mimic the hardships Ella endured; the loss of her mother, her father’s remarriage to a woman interested only in his wealth, two cruel and selfish stepsisters, her father’s untimely death and subsequently the abrasive and inhumane ways she was treated as a result of all these circumstances. However, we all face trials and disappointment, and we all choose whether or not to have courage and be kind.
Courage is often equated to self-less acts of heroism like running into a burning building. We even define courage as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. In my opinion though, the standard belief that fear does not accompany courage is a disservice, for the two are actually close compadres, and where one is found, the other is generally close at hand.
Perhaps courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of fear. That definition opens the door a bit wider, giving opportunity for more individuals to live courageously. Feeling fear yet choosing to act is becoming a most popular theme. Not convinced? Below are quotes concerning this very topic:
- “Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ ‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.” – George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
- Fear and courage are brothers. – Proverb
- 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
- There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid. – L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done – that’s courage. One who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward. – Piers Anthony
- Courage is about doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared. Have the courage to act instead of react. – Oliver Wendell Holmes
The secret to courage is refusing to allow fear to prevent action. You can be afraid and still act courageously. There is another misconception regarding courage; it doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’
It takes courage to stand up for what you believe. It takes courage to say no, when everyone else is saying yes. It takes courage to speak up when your opinion is different. It takes courage to tell the truth when a lie seems easier. It takes courage to admit when you are wrong. It takes courage to remain silent in the face of adversity. It takes courage to try something new. It takes courage to walk a path that is uncomfortable.
Courage takes many forms, and I bet if we all pause and consider our actions, we will find we are more courageous than we imagined.
Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller