I used to think Joan of Arc was fierce. As a teenager, I would read about her escapes, and I would dream of the things I could do when I owned a car.
I would drive to the nearest airport and fly away to exotic places, listening to peoples stories and rescuing those in need.
As my 40’s have opened out before me, I have realised living life helping others is not so much about being wonder woman and riding horses, with swords and shouting. I believe the greatest gift I am learning from the life of heroes like Joan of Arc, is the way that they knelt and listened amid their darkest hours.
There is something about this age of social justice and helping those in need, that have made the feminine voice about being loud and ferocious—alluring us to the fact that making a difference in one’s life is about wearing a wonder woman cape and facing the enemy with a sword.
Jeanne d‘Arc was born in 1412 and died on the 30 May 1431. She lived a few short years, yet I am still writing about her hundreds of years later.
She lived in medieval France in the time from our history of much shame. Women did not have a voice, vote or opportunity to follow through on the passions of their heart. Joan spoke with the crown prince and convinced him to let a woman lead the army into battle.
What I admire in the annuals of her life, was the way that she sought out wisdom from God, to find the courage to take the steps towards justice that she so profoundly needed. The older I get, the more I realise that most of our battles are won in our mind, to find the courage to take the next step towards living a life that makes a difference.
Her divine guidance had to come from a place of stability and quiet. We cannot hear if we don’t make time to listen and the knowledge she collected on her knees, gave her the courage to speak up for that which matters.
Often when it comes to living a life of purpose and speaking up for those who have lost their voice, we talk about the bravery it takes to speak up. I am learning that moment of courage, although it may be the thing that marks us, comes from many moments of surrender found in the quiet places.
We cannot live a life of justice, without a quiet life of surrender, reclarifying our sense of purpose and the why behind our passionate opinions. In a world that promotes speaking up for the things that matter, let’s remember it is the quiet places that give us the wisdom to know what to do amid all the pain.
Joan of Arc, I am often inspired by your voice and fierce courage, but lately, I have been reflecting about the personal cost that must have tolled for you to move against a tide of popular opinion. I am more interested in the way that you rested and reflected, these days, than your moments of valiant horseback courage.
What were your quiet moments of courage that lead you to those historical places?