[MOL] Wednesdays Chicken Soup For the Soul [03114] Medicine On Line


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[MOL] Wednesdays Chicken Soup For the Soul



Good Morning My FRiends,

Throat the following message may bring a smile and a warmth to your
hearts. Have a great day.


  The Smile
   
       Many Americans are familiar with The Little Prince, a wonderful
book
 by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This is a whimsical and fabulous book and
 works as a children's story as well as a thought-provoking adult fable.
 Far fewer are aware of Saint-Exupery's other writings, novels and short
 stories.
       Saint-Exupery was a fighter pilot who fought against the Nazis
and
 was killed in action. Before World War II, he fought in the Spanish
Civil
 War against the fascists. He wrote a fascinating story based on that
 experience entitled The Smile (Le Sourire). It is this story which I'd
 like to share with you now. It isn't clear whether or not he meant this
to
 be autobiographical or fiction. I choose to believe it to be the
former.
       He said that he was captured by the enemy and thrown into a jail
 cell. He was sure that from the contemptuous looks and rough treatment
he
 received from his jailers he would be executed the next day. From here,
 I'll tell the story as I remember it in my own words.
       "I was sure that I was to be killed. I became terribly nervous
and
 distraught. I fumbled in my pockets to see if there were any cigarettes
 which had escaped their search. I found one and because of my shaking
 hands, I could barely get it to my lips. But I had no matches, they had
 taken those.
       "I looked through the bars at my jailer. He did not make eye
contact
 with me. After all, one does not make eye contact with a thing, a
corpse.
 I called out to him 'Have you got a light, por favor?' He looked at me,
 shrugged and came over to light my cigarette.
       "As he came close and lit the match, his eyes inadvertently
locked
 with mine. At that moment, I smiled. I don't know why I did that.
Perhaps
 it was nervousness, perhaps it was because, when you get very close,
one
 to another, it is very hard not to smile. In any case, I smiled. In
that
 instant, it was as though a spark jumped across the gap between our two
 hearts, our two human souls. I know he didn't want to, but my smile
leaped
 through the bars and generated a smile on his lips, too. He lit my
 cigarette but stayed near, looking at me directly in the eyes and
 continuing to smile.
       "I kept smiling at him, now aware of him as a person and not just
a
 jailer. And his looking at me seemed to have a new dimension, too. 'Do
you
 have kids?' he asked.
       " 'Yes, here, here.' I took out my wallet and nervously fumbled
for
 the pictures of my family. He, too, took out the pictures of his ninos
and
 began to talk about his plans and hopes for them. My eyes filled with
 tears. I said that I feared that I'd never see my family again, never
have
 the chance to see them grow up. Tears came to his eyes, too.
       "Suddenly, without another word, he unlocked my cell and silently
 led me out. Out of the jail, quietly and by back routes, out of the
town.
 There, at the edge of town, he released me. And without another word,
he
 turned back toward the town.
       "My life was saved by a smile."
       Yes, the smile - the unaffected, unplanned natural connection
 between people. I tell this story in my work because I'd like people to
 consider that underneath all the layers we construct to protect
ourselves,
 our dignity, our titles, our degrees, our status and our need to be
seen
 in certain ways - underneath all that, remains the authentic, essential
 self. I'm not afraid to call it the soul. I really believe that if that
 part of you and that part of me could recognize each other, we wouldn't
be
 enemies. We couldn't have hate or envy or fear. I sadly conclude that
all
 those other layers, which we so carefully construct through our lives,
 distance and insulate us from truly contacting others. Saint-Exupery's
 story speaks of that magic moment when two souls recognize each other.
       I've had just a few moments like that. Falling in love is one
 example. And looking at a baby. Why do we smile when we see a baby?
 Perhaps it's because we see someone without all the defensive layers,
 someone whose smile for us we know to be fully genuine and without
guile.
 And that baby-soul inside us smiles wistfully in recognition.

God Bless
marty auslander
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