At the beginning of Act 2 of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, has had a terrible dream about Caesar’s death and is begging him to not go to the senate. Caesar has been warned of the Ides of March by the Soothsayer and by his own priests. Decius then arrives to escort Caesar to the Capitol. Decius, one of the conspirators involved in the plot to murder Caesar, convinces Caesar that he should go to the Capital. At that point Caesar says, “A cowardice dies many times before he dies. A valiant man only dies once.”
Fear is an enemy of good things in our lives. Those of us who have at one time or another let fear defeat us knows exactly what Caesar meant when he said that a coward “dies many times before he dies.” When you allow fear, whether it is fear of rejection, the unknown, love, failure, or even success, keep you from good things in your life you experience death in the form of regret. Fear is a very powerful enemy and very difficult to fight against. I try to stress the importance to my students that failure isn’t the enemy. Failure is a part of life. Success is not always a hundred percent. Our culture tends to make us think that failure is the worse thing in the world, but our culture is wrong. To never fail is to have never tried. Just because you tried and didn’t succeed doesn’t mean you have truly failed. Having never tried because of fear is true failure. I encourage my students to pursue their dreams and not think of whether they fail or not, but to think of the fact that when they try they are actually living.
What about those of us who have already experienced some true failure in our life. To us I say, let us be valiant. Let us learn from that one death, and not allow fear to defeat us again. Pursue those dreams and those good things in our lives. Let us live not in fear but in peace and love. I would also remind us that we must never forget that even our failures or regrets were part of a greater plan. I have learned that my regrets and failures of the past have ultimately lead me to greater things. God has a way, even through our failures, to lead us to something better. As hard as it may be to believe, that failure was part of His plan all along to lead us to something better than we could ever imagine.
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…”