Day 342 of 366 Blog Challenge 2012
“Here’s my SECRET. It’s quite simple. One sees clearly ONLY with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” … Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This saying jumped out at me from my Facebook news feed and I could not resist the invitation to do something with it. So here I am with my trusty tools of trade – my computer – writing to you all from this, oh so comfortable place, of having only 24 days left to blog for 2012. Amazing?!
I discovered today that the writer of this great saying is: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, officially known as: Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry (29 June 1900 – 31 July 1944). He was a French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator. Unfortunately during the war, he disappeared while flying over the Mediterranean on his last assigned reconnaissance mission in July 1944, and is believed to have died at that time.
Such a shame because he’d had great success as a writer especially with the work The Little Prince which was later made into a movie. Antoine must have been a very wise man because a lot of sayings have been attributed to him. They reflect a man who thought deeply about things. I like that!
I love Antoine’s quote because it speaks to me very strongly about how the world today values life in terms of economics (money) or appearances, first and foremost, and misses ‘the essentials’ of life which cannot be seen.
Antoine says that “anything ESSENTIAL is invisible to the eyes”. In other words it cannot be seen. Let’s look at the word ‘essential.‘ The Macquarie Dictionary gives several meanings for the word but I have morphed them here:
essential: adj. the main part; an indispensable element; forming the essence of something
This explains how important the ‘essentials’ really are. I also love the word “essence” that is used here. “Anything essential that is invisible to the eyes” therefore, is talking about the very essence of someone. Of course, the essence of someone is felt or perceived by their good qualities … never SEEN with the naked eye.
To my way of thinking, this gives us permission to concentrate first on developing the inner self and to stop worrying as much about amassing money or trying to gain prestige or any other thing that ‘looks’ good.
When we concentrate on the heart first, the rest will follow. Or another way to look at this quote is to say: don’t look at the exterior when we meet someone, look at the heart; look at the essence of the person.
In fact, I also came across a poem today which made me shed a tear. It is the story of an old man in hospital dying. He had very little to leave the world and after he had died, the nurses found a poem amongst his possessions. It told the story of a totally different man to the one they saw before them, old and cantankerous. The poem was his life story.
This poem reminded me that “anything essential IS invisible to the eyes.” Perhaps I loved the poem because, as I age and look in the mirror, I see the face of my mother … and I am shocked every time. No amount of looking tells me that I am the same young woman who began this life journey 66 years ago. The young Tess cannot be seen in that mirror, but she is there folks. Yes she is always there.
In the poem, the old man also saw himself as the young man he was when he started out in life and for this reason he asks the question: “What do you see Nurses … What do you see?” Perhaps one day, this could be me writing such a poem?
So my dear friends, remember today to look further than what you can see with the naked eye: look for the essential things – the essence of the person and this will never fail you. Take the time, don’t judge and see what you can discover.
I will leave you to mull on the poem about the Cranky Old Man which is easy to read. It is well worth it … trust me on this!
Cranky Old Man
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!