“I am not afraid… I was born to do this.”
~ Joan of Arc
I read women’s biographies. It doesn’t matter what era. The trials seem to be the same for every woman from Sally Ride to Joan of Arc. Both of these women, separated by 600 years, had the same struggle to be able to do what they wanted to do. For Sally, it was to be on the crew of the previously all male NASA flying club. For Joan, it was banishing the enemy English from French land. Both women had to convince men to step out of the way.
I get lessons, too, for how to act. I am reading Kathryn Harrison‘s recent biography Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured. Joan, a girl from Lorraine, has to convince the Daphne that she needed knights to ride out to a town under siege by the English. First she has to get the provisions and the army into the starving town, then she has to turn and address the English, letting the enemy know there’s a new threat.
Joan goes bold. She takes a stand that I liken to animals when they puff themselves up to seem bigger. After all, she’s only a 14-year-old with no battle experience. Why should they pay attention to her? But she takes an aggressive tone with them, and to add to her authority, invokes God as her supporter.
Bringing it home
For seven or eight years, the renters next door to us have gradually, bit by bit, added farm animals to their city lot as well as ramshackle sheds and tons of yard debris. We have endured this, even though it’s visible from our second story, but when the smell of the outdoor fire became so constant and overwhelming, we had had enough. We had to act to get the city code inspector.
We don’t know what the neighbors will do, whether they will follow the city code or take out their revenge on us. What I do know from Joan of Arc is that sometimes when there’s a wrong, you have to act boldly. Become big.
It worked for Joan of Arc, and it works for me too.