“BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON YOU GET FROM A SWING IS THAT AFTER EVERY DOWN, THE SWING ALWAYS COMES BACK UP. ALWAYS” –Mrs. Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s Promise
The other metaphor I use is a swing metaphor. Although I would love to share both with you, there is only time to share the swing metaphor. I thought I would give you a sample reading of Mr. Darcy’s Promise which is due out in July. And since we just finished the first round of edits on it, (yippee!!!! Thanks Camie Schaefer! You are an awesome editor!) I feel it is time to share a bit with you all. Round 2 and 3 of the edits should go much quicker.
Here is a little background on the setting that this takes place. Elizabeth was forced to marry Darcy before she knew he loved her and before she fell in love with him. They have a unique relationship and their courtship which would normally take place prior to marriage, occurs after marriage. But from the very beginning, Elizabeth starts having dreams of Mr. Darcy pushing her on a swing under a cedar tree. At this point in the book, although both are in love with each other, neither has directly declared themselves. Elizabeth asks Mr. Darcy if Pemberley has a swing and he promises to search for the perfect spot to put one (thus the reference to the map). With that explanation, here is the sample reading from my book:
Mr. Darcy met her eyes. Would they someday share more than a flock of chicks between them? He held her gaze for a moment before he cut her a slice of cake. “Here, eat a little something.”
She took a bite, the knot in her stomach loosening a bit as she did so. She ate briefly making light conversation until her cake was finished. “Well, let us see that map! I have always loved swinging. There is something about it that is invigorating. I used to swing when I was troubled when I was too young to go out walking on my own. I loved the whole experience.” She looked at him with a curious little smile. “Pray, Mr. Darcy, have you ever truly contemplated the image of a swing?”
Her eyes were so bright. This was a part of her that he treasured dearly; her sharp wit, her clever observations, and he would do anything to hear her speak. “I am afraid, Mrs. Darcy, that you shall have to enlighten me on such matters. I confess I have never given much thought to a child’s plaything before. Do not, however, imagine that my omission makes me any less of a deep thinker.”
She saw the mirth in his eyes and began to explain. “Well it is not so much a parallel as a metaphor. Life has many ups and downs. Sometimes we struggle with trials, or gravity in the swing’s case, and feel low and heavy. It even looks like we will hit the rocks below us. That moment where we think we can get no lower is very difficult. We feel the weight of our trials the worst at that moment and we do not have the perspective to see a way out. But the most important part about a swing is after the lows, after the trials and hardships we face, the swing always goes up. Always. Life always gets better. In fact, because we are so faithful and used our strength to pump ourselves during the lowest spot we are rewarded with two very important things.
“The first is perspective. As it swings up we are high enough to see a perspective that we could not get during the low part. We can see everything. In fact, I like to swing high enough that the ropes that tie us are not even in my peripheral vision and I feel like am just flying in the air.
“That brings me to the second important reward. As we reach that peak, we are weightless for just a moment. All that irritates, like the ropes or seat of the chair in the swings case, or trials or things that make us anxious in life’s case, it all just disappears for a moment and we are free from all that binds us. We feel nothing, not even gravity weighing us down. It is a moment that I relish. To have perspective and be weightless at the same time is indescribable. So yes, life is like being on a swing. We can just sit there at the lowest spot and be miserable or we can fight and struggle and pump ourselves to a position that allows us to see things in a better light. But the most important life lesson you get from a swing is that after every down, the swing always comes back up. Always. Life can be hard but it always gets better.” She sat and watched him, his eyes intently focused on hers.
Mr. Darcy was silent for a moment. He had never seen the depth of conviction that she had just demonstrated to him. She was always intelligent and wise in his mind, but to have spent so much time correlating a simple swing to help her understand life’s problems was beyond anything he could have come up with on his own. “You are beyond amazing, Elizabeth. And I must admit I lied to you again.”
She knew this game now, and smiled at him. “And what might be the truth?”
“You are most definitely a deeper thinker than I am. I must remember that when I try to understand you. I have to admit that a swing has always been just a swing to me.” And a chicken has always been a farm animal, but to her it was more. He would need to remember her cleverness and powers of observation if he was to make sense of the chickens.
“If you are going to keep lying to me, you might just alter my opinion of you,” she teased.
He was most anxious to hear what her opinion of him was. “And what might your opinion of me be that would be so altered?”
“That you are trustworthy.” She gave him her best smile.
He had, in his heart of hearts, been hoping for more, but trustworthy? He could live with that opinion. It was better than proud. He had made every attempt to be trustworthy with her, and he was grateful he had gotten that across. He stood up, took her arm and tucked it into his. “Let me show you the map.”
I hope you enjoyed the swing metaphor. This occurs at a very climactic moment in the book. And just as Elizabeth describes how the lowest part of a swing feels like you are going to hit the rocks below you, so the plot turns and takes you on similar feelings. Their relationship and courtship has traveled the entire pendulum that a swing makes throughout the book and just like she describes, they reach that weightless happily ever after, eventually. (OF COURSE! Would I write it any other way?)
If you enjoyed this, read the first chapter on this website. Then take the poll at the end. Here is the link.
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