Joy and Courage

"Above the Fray" by Elizabeth Luallen

“Above the Fray” encaustic painting by Elizabeth Luallen

We tend to think of eventless calm or some special circumstance when we consider the transcient and transparent experience of joy. But could courage be its secret companion? To face the perilous danger, to live for terror, to plan for a picnic on the razor’s edge: could this be joy?

A circus performer has abandoned all reason, perched tiptoe on the worn saddle of three-ring circus horse, in a dangerous cantor before the crowd. Do they hope she will crash into the muck and straw of the fairground? We know, as she knows, that success is inevitable. Whereever there is joy, there is courage; and where courage, you find that success is inevitable, regardless of the circumstance, or outcome.

Alone at last?

Must we be alone to find peace? Must we be in the midst of our cherished desires to be finally at rest? An artist steps amongst the stones of a shallow stream, distant in thought.

Stones become gems, and idle moments are rendered timeless when we are alone; that is, if we find ourselves a likeable companion. If not, being alone is a living hell that we feel obliged to share.

But when we’ve crossed the stream, when we’ve come this far to do what we set out to do, when we have finally arrived at a secret accomplishment, there is the possibility of peace with ourselves. And then, perhaps one can be a friend at last.

painting by Elizabeth Luallen

Original encaustic by Elizabth Luallen