I just finished rereading again Nora Roberts’ Jewels of the Sun. Admittedly, this is one of the many favorites I’ve been reading. Not only because of the fascinating image of Ireland being painted in my head, but also for the main character – no other than Jude Frances Murray. I must first apologize to Ms. Roberts’ as I had a temporary lapse of memory and had to google the correct spellings of the names. So, going back.
I identify with Miss Murray – Jude, if I may call her that. I think that if given the chance to talk to her, I would be so thankful that I came across her. She may not be flesh and blood, but she gave me the inspiration and aspiration to reach for my dreams. There are so many instances in her story, that I found I can relate to.
Just a gist: Jude is an American professor who left everything she is familiar with in turn of a new place to eventually find some peace and answers to quiet her soul. What she found in Ireland was so much more.
I write these in joy because I am hoping, that someday, somehow, I also find what Jude has found in Ireland: peace, trust in herself, love, a sense of belonging, purpose and most importantly, the true meaning of what it takes to be really happy.
I cannot help but relate to Jude. She had worked and acted and lived to what is expected of her, specifically what she thought was expected of her.She was always quick to say sorry. She was afraid to fail, and disappoint her parents. She can relate to her grandma. She returned to her roots, in hopes of finding herself. She feels so much appreciation to little things: a man and his dog walking beside the road, flowers outside the door, the lush green fields, the simple act of hanging your clothes to dry. She’s timid and yet there’s so much imagination locked and hidden in plain sight.
She’s so much more than I mentioned above. I forgot to mention brave and funny and intellectual and also kind-hearted.
All of this and more, I can relate, not only because I’m afraid to fail and disappoint, because I wanted to do what Jude did, go back home and discover your true self.
Why am I jotting down everything I know of Jude? It’s because I wanted to figure out what she has figured out.
She lost herself… but she found who she was and who she can be eventually.
She was afraid to chase her dreams…but she eventually sent her ‘heart’ and ‘fruits of labor’ across the seas.
She admitted that there are things that are silly and fanciful, but none of them illegal so she cherished them and took joy doing them.
She learned that everything will eventually take care of itself..you don’t have to worry about it.
She learned the power of choice..so she took charge and took care of how she utilized this power.
The story was so much more than falling in love with a handsome guy. It was choosing yourself over the fear of growing old alone.
It was choosing to love yourself first, before you throw yourself at the feet of somebody else.
And after realizing how you like yourself, you don’t need to follow the wishes of others, you’re going to take charge of your own happiness.
Ms. Murray, I may not have the chance yet, but I hope that when the time comes for me to choose, I hope I will do as you did. To discover what is it that makes one happy, to value the gift of friendship, even if it means they get to interfere with your life.
Jude, thank you for showing me that words are just important as actions, as I have yet to do any of the things I yearn and learned from you.
Nora, thank you for creating a character so dear to me, that I find joy and inspiration each and every time I read her story. I’m sure there are a lot more to discover as I reread Jewels of the Sun once again, but for now, this gives me a sliver of hope as I am in the process of finding happiness, and in my experience and awareness of the power of choice.
Thank you very much.