Pageboys and Princes

[I am so excited to publish my first guest post. Jeannie Prinsen

ed. note: Jeannie’s handsome family
(rocking pageboy haircut on the right)

has been providing marvelous insights in her comments here at the train wreck, and now we get to read this excellent article filled with more insights on God’s truth. Please join me in warmly welcoming her here with us today.]

When I was young I used to read a comic strip called “Prince Valiant.”  I don’t remember any of the story line now, but I thought the Prince was very attractive with his pageboy haircut.  I also liked his name:  while for boys of my era “Valiant” probably meant a car, I liked the connotations of bravery, sacrifice, and fortitude.

ed. note: Prince Valiant also rocking a pageboy ‘do
(But not as rocking as Jeannie’s daughter!)

John Bunyan wrote a hymn about being valiant:  a call to Christian pilgrims to follow Jesus through whatever challenges and temptations life might bring:

Who would true valour see? Let him come hither.
One here will constant be, come wind, come weather
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

Whoso beset him ’round with dismal stories
do but themselves confound — his strength the more is.
No lion can him fright; he’ll with a giant fight!
But he will have a right to be a pilgrim.

Hobgoblin nor foul fiend can daunt his spirit:
he knows he at the end shall life inherit.
Let fancies flee away!  He’ll fear not what men say.
He’ll labour night and day to be a pilgrim.

I can imagine Prince Valiant or King David or Aragorn doing acts of valour like fighting lions, giants, and hobgoblins.  But not me.  I’m pretty conservative.  I hate extreme sports.  I hate extreme anything.  I like to read, write, and watch Jane Austen movies.   The kind of valour Bunyan is talking about is for the superstar types, right?

Actually, no.  The 2nd verse of the poem refers to the Christian beset by “dismal stories.”    I wonder what those could be…

God could never love you. 

God is disappointed with you. 

Compared to other Christians you are pretty pathetic.

You’ve wandered so far away you can never get back. 

You don’t have enough faith; that’s why all this is happening. 

You call yourself a Christian, yet you feel/say/think THAT?

Maybe the act of saying No to these “dismal stories” is actually one example of the kind of valour Bunyan is talking about.  When we read Scriptures like John 5:24  (“The one who hears my word, and believes in Him who sent me, has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation”) or Jeremiah 31:3 (“I have loved you with an everlasting love”), we may actually be taking up weapons against an even more insidious enemy than giants or goblins.

Maybe valour isn’t just for the superstar types — the handsome princes with nice hair or the beautiful princesses who seem to have it all together.  Maybe it’s for all of us ordinary people too, for whom believing in God’s constant love is a daily act of courage.

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13 Responses to Pageboys and Princes

  1. janehinrichs says:

    Saying no to those lies we hear is definitely an act of bravery and valour!!!

    • Jeannie says:

      Thanks, Jane, I really appreciate your commenting and have enjoyed all your comments on previous posts at this blog!

      • janehinrichs says:

        You are very welcome. I enjoyed your post. It is a good reminder I think to all of us that every day we are in a fight between good and evil and to choose rightly, to do the right thing, to not listen to the negative things that want to take us over and just to love as Jesus Christ has called us to love is truly courageous!

  2. Tim says:

    This is great, Jeannie. And I agree with Jane; sometimes just shutting out the lies takes courage. People who try to run us down can be very persuasive. Then again, I go with my favorite Latin aphorism: non illegitimi carborundum!

    • “non illegitimi carborundum!” ?
      I had to look it up.


      I need to cross-stitch this one and put it above my kitchen sink, next to all the Bible verses I’m trying to memorize.

    • Jeannie says:

      Thanks Tim for kindly inviting me to post here. Yeah, Latin always stops them dead in their tracks! 🙂

      • Mary Anne says:

        Lois McMaster Bujold has another one along these lines that always speaks to me:

        “Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards.”

        That last part isn’t always up to us, but carrying out the first two takes valor a-plenty, I believe. Wasn’t it Dumbledore in the Harry Potter novels who made a comment about choosing between “that which is right and that which is easy”? It’s HARD not to listen to those enemy whisperings. It’s hard to persist and have courage. Some days I’m doing well to get out of bed in the morning . . .

  3. Nicely done Jeannie. Beautiful thoughts. This post brought to mind a dear friend of mine who struggles with depression. Though fragile, she IS brave. It takes courage to admit to feeling vulnerable. I think of her as delicate, translucent, porcelain in a stainless steel world.

    Also, the word “valiant” makes me think of my husband. He would consider himself ordinary –“merely one of the surging crowd” — but to me and my five little ones he is a HERO because he bears his daily toil with dignity and determination and he does it out of love for us.

    Love the John Bunyan quote. I’ve recently been reading from The Pilgrim’s Progress. Lot’s of rich material there!

    I’ll be looking for more of your posts in the future!

    • Jeannie says:

      Thanks, Adriana; I always enjoy your comments here. Maybe one of my favourite Lord of the Rings quotes fits what you said too (regarding the deeds that move the world): “Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the world are elsewhere.” That definitely sounds like your husband!

  4. Jeannie says:

    Mary Anne, there’s no button to reply directly to your comment but I just want to say (since we’re referencing all our favourite works of fantasy lit here!) that maybe it’s like in Harry Potter where “the wand chooses the wizard”: that the words of hope & encouragement whether from Scripture, from a friend, etc. will do their work even when we feel unable. Those words will seek us out and strengthen us and do for us what we can’t do alone. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing the journey.

  5. Aimee Byrd says:

    Thanks for expanding out thoughts on valor. I can’t help but think of our valiant King, who lovingly rescued all us hobgoblins.

    • Jeannie says:

      Yes, me too, Aimee: “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Colossians 1:13).
      Thanks for commenting!

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