Letters to Young Girls

22 - “I Am in Perfect Health!”


écrit

PUBLICATION DATE

02 . 05 . 2024

Rubric

Letters to Young Girls

22 - “I Am in Perfect Health!”

Author

The Daughters of Mary

Je suis en parfaite santé!

Dear Friend,

When Mathilda got up this morning, she was dragging herself around and at breakfast she was apathetic. What a fine way to start the day… but Mathilda is tired! Besides that, today is going to be a big spring-cleaning day! Her parents strongly urge her to hurry up and get to work because they would like to wash all the windows in the house. This needs to be done occasionally, and everyone in the family pitches in. That’s normal, isn’t it?

Fenêtre ouverte avec fleurs

Working with her father, Mathilda helps out but she is exasperatingly slow. She washes the inside of the window in the living room and stops; then she picks up a cloth to dry it and stops again! Her father, who is busy washing the outside pane, comes into the house and, controlling his impatience, says to his daughter: “Mathilda, get a move on! You’re faster than that when it’s time to go to the park with your friends.” Mathilda, without any energy to react, answers in a listless voice: “I’m tired!” Her mother glances at her furtively and says a few encouraging words to her, since it’s the last window to be done before lunch.

This good mother did notice that, in spite of the fact that her big girl dislikes this kind of task, she has really been more tired in recent weeks. The end of the school year with all its projects and its studies, and the stress of final exams is taking its toll on her energy.

Besides this, Mathilda has been training for a marathon, which is quite demanding, given her rather frail physical constitution. After a little while, Mathilda says: “Mother, can I stop?” So, her mother sends her off to set the table and heat their lunch while she finishes the window Mathilda was washing.


In life, we often experience tiredness as we go about doing the duties of our state. At certain periods of time more so than others, depending on the events that follow one another, our state of health and our vitality – or even the frame of mind in which we are functioning – can prompt us to strengthen our energy reserves through healthy habits: eating good food rich in nutritive value, making sure to have enough sleep and getting out in the fresh air. However, it can also happen that, despite all our good will and our efforts to live a balanced life, circumstances are such that it is more difficult to rest and recuperate.

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Let’s think, for example, of our hard-working mothers who, after we were born, spent many nights with very little sleep so that we could be fed, and yet they still had to look after their daily obligations. Even today, your parents must work hard to earn a living for the family  and look after the children, while perhaps having to deal with worrying situations and certainly feeling quite exhausted at times. However, their love for their family and the duties they have to accomplish force them to surpass themselves in the giving of themselves, sustained by the grace of the moment.

God out of love for Him and for our neighbor enables us to discover inner resources and a strength we didn’t know we had. On the contrary, paying too much attention to our tiredness and our passing discomforts, constantly reminding ourselves of this interiorly, intensifies them and paralyzes our ability to do things.

Marie-Paule also experienced a persistent feeling of tiredness and great weakness, while being unable to eat anything and sleeping only two or three hours a night.

She recounted to her daughter how she would overcome her extreme weariness: “I was so weak that when I went to Uncle Germain’s for the newspaper, I thought I was dragging a corpse, and I would keep repeating to myself as I went: ‘I am in perfect health.’ That is how I would get through my days. It does not cure anything, but psychologically, it distracts us and then we even think life is wonderful.”  (White Book V, p. 79)


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It is now the end of the day and Mathilda’s mother notes with satisfaction and joy that the windows are sparkling clean. She has this feeling of pride that comes with having accomplished well one’s duties. Her father also acknowledges that he had a good day. Besides, he underlines that the tiredness felt at the end of such a day is a good tiredness.

Mathilda’s mother then says to her: “You, my dear, I want you to go to bed early. I know its Saturday but you must recuperate, for you have other exams next week. You have to restore the energy of your body and your mind. And no sitting before a computer screen tomorrow in order to give your nervous system a rest. I will buy you some tonics to finish the school year.” These sacrifices will help Mathilda regain her youthful energy. And Monday morning, she will be able to valiantly face what the week has in store for her by philosophically accepting the tiredness which could still manifest itself.

I am in perfect health,” she will say to herself,

because even if I’m tired, life can be wonderful!

The Daughters of Mary


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