We would envy our religious brothers and sisters if we too could “die to ourselves” a little more each day. However, for us, the tiny circumstances of life are faithful “superiors.” They do not leave us alone for a moment. When we surrender to them without resistance, we find ourselves wonderfully liberated from ourselves. From the moment we wake up, these circumstances take hold of us. It is the telephone that rings; it is the key that won’t work, the bus that doesn’t arrive or arrives full . . . It’s the daily routine, one chore that leads to another, some job we wouldn’t have chosen. It’s being cold, or being hot; it’s the headache or the toothache. For us, the ordinary people of the streets, obedience means bending to the ways of our times whenever they are not harmful . . . When we live with others, obedience also means we set aside our own tastes and leave things in the place others have put them. When we thus become accustomed to giving up our will to so many tiny things, we will no longer find it hard, when the occasion presents itself, to do the will of our boss, our husband, or our parents.
– Madeleine Delbrel