Theres much I could say about her and her writing, but one thing that has stuck with me is:
We’re not on this earth for our enjoyment. Those who expect to enjoy life are very wrong and remarkably disappointed in their expectations.
By this I don’t think that she means that we are supposed to be miserable all our lives. Merely that we aren’t supposed to expect everything to be convenient, overly comfortable or for our entertainment.
How conflicting is this with the modern message? That if you aren’t enjoying life it isn’t worth living? YOLO?
Zélie saw much suffering in her life. She gave birth to nine children, but only 5 survived infancy. She was really sick through all her pregnancies. She was a working mother with her own business. Her children were frequently sick with serious diseases including Measles, Whooping Cough and Typhoid. She was unable to breastfeed and so had to send her children to wet nurses far from her home in a time where there was little transport, some of which caused the death of her children (through alcoholism, starvation and neglect). She had bouts of quite severe depression. Then ultimately she got sick and died of breast cancer.
Have we got too comfortable that we class our “first world problems” as suffering, that we get pre-occupied with ourselves and we often feel sorry for ourselves over trivial things?
We are supposed to make ourselves uncomfortable. To get out of our comfort zones. To aspire for the true enjoyment of heaven. To do things. Change the world even.
As Zélie says,
… it’s certain and proven by experience that happiness is not on earth… No, happiness can’t be found here below, In His wisdom, God wanted it this way to make us remember that the world is not our true home.
So if things are not going well, have hope! You are obviously made for better things.
At the start of a new year, reading these quotes has helped me write my new year’s resolutions. Its a time to think of getting out of our comfort zones and vow to change and improve ourselves and do something different.
So do enjoy life. Be joyful. Just don’t get too comfortable…