For this I was born

April 2007 - Joan's statue stands inside the Basilica of Bois-Chenu,near the tiny village of her birth at Domremy, France

April 2007 – Joan’s statue stands inside the Basilica of Bois-Chenu,
near the tiny village of her birth at Domremy, France

“I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me; and if the soldiers come, I have God, my Lord, who will know how to clear the route that leads to the Dauphin. It was for this that I was born!” Joan of Arc

“If Joan of Arc could turn the tide of an entire war before her 18th birthday, you can get out of bed.”E. Jean Carroll

Whether you see Joan of Arc as a leader sent from God, or a delusional country girl whose power lay entirely in the imagination of her people, her story is remarkable and bears close scrutiny.  When I was a young girl, I was captivated by her role in history — a fascination that remains to this day — and the more I read about her, the more interesting she becomes. Even crusty skeptics such as Mark Twain have become ardent admirers.

Through writing a novel, I have experienced the magic of creating a world entirely in my own mind, and then spending time there among characters who became quite real to me.  I can easily understand how Joan’s trance-like visits with the saints may have been entirely a product of a self-constructed fantasy world.  What is harder to explain is how she went on, against all odds, to change the course of a seemingly endless conflict.

Regardless of what other forces were at work, Joan’s absolute faith in God and the purpose she believed to be her calling led her through perils, injuries and ultimately, a ghastly death at the stake.  Among many other lessons to be drawn from her life, her resolve is an inspiration to me as I negotiate daily difficulties that seem laughably minute in comparison.

That second quote grabbed me because, frankly, I’ve been struggling quite a lot lately, and there are many days when it’s an effort just to get out of bed and face another day.  Still,  when I look at my life, despite numerous disappointments, heartaches and failures, I honestly believe that I am doing what I was born to do.

Chances are, if you examine the many roles you play and the people who depend on your faithful diligence, you will be able to say the same.  Most of us were not born to be remembered in the history books, but that makes our calling no less important.  We can rest assured that when we answer a divine summons to a life we may or may not have chosen for ourselves, our road will be made open.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

4 Comments

  1. Susan

    Julia, when I was in fourth grade I found that my school library had a collection of hardcover children’s biographies of famous women. I read through them all and loved them. The ones I specifically remember were Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, and Clara Barton. I know there were others. I also read a Scholastic paperback about Nellie Bly, which became one of my favorites. I’ve had it in the back of my mind to look for these books on ebay, and I think now I’ll finally go do it!

    Your second quote seems fitting, all these years later, for the time we’re in when the pandemic is wearing on us. I know that sadly you were going through much more at the time you wrote this, but thank you for the reminder that’s appropriate in smaller ways as well.

    • Susan, I remember reading and loving a series of fictionalized biographies imagining the childhood experiences of famous people. They looked like this and there were dozens of them. My goal was to read them all but I never got there. Since they were of both men and women, I don’t think they were the series you read. But I too had my imagination fired by reading biographies of all sorts, including that of Joan of Arc. I never knew about Nellie Bly until I got older, but that was my loss. Other biographies that stuck with me were those of Jane Addams, Amelia Earhart and Clara Barton. And yes, that second quote is a great reminder to this day. The lives of people who endured so much more than we can imagine are inspiring people long after they left this earth. That’s a wonderful thing to think about when things seem gloomy! Thanks for being here and sharing your experiences with us. ❤

  2. Susan

    I recognize those books! They aren’t the ones but I have seen those and probably read some. And oh, thank you for the reminder, Amelia Earhart was one of the women in the series I’m looking for. So fascinating, despite the sad and mysterious ending.

    • Yes, she had an interesting life. I’ve often wondered if the questions surrounding her death added to her mystique and fame, because others were lesser known. Have you read any of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s books? I didn’t realize until learning more about her that she was an accomplished aviator in her own right (though of course she did learn it all from her husband…but he was so skilled that should give her more, not less, credibility). She set some aviation records of her own. Also there are many other women who flew, about whom I heard little to nothing growing up (Amy Johnson, Bessie Coleman, Harriet Quimby, etc.). I’m glad these women are finally being recognized.

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