Driving my kids to their dental appointment today, we passed a corpse. I could see the top of his head, bits of the gurney, but mostly the shape of his blanketed body.
In the first chapter of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince,) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Prince describes how he is a misunderstood artist with hidden undeveloped talent. He had drawn a postprandial (after dinner) boa constrictor, large with the elephant inside his stomach. Unfortunately people who looked at his picture saw a hat instead. Better with words than picture, Prince narrated rather his great loneliness amongst all creation and a yearning to connect.
This morning, seeing the blanketed corpse, I remembered the boa constrictor that Prince related to. The futility the Little Prince felt about getting connected. The inevitable misunderstandings that left him as a hat instead of boa constrictor that just swallowed an elephant whole.
However, Prince refused the constraints other people’s perceptions offered him. He refused the constraints by believing even still that he could connect with others. In his simple way of living, he tried, going from planet to planet to be known as the Prince he was and not that other thing.
Driving today, I was very upset by what I had seen. The facelessness of the man shaped in his blanket. Covering him up and no one crying over him.
Someone was there with a clipboard and I could see an investigation was underway. Of course necessary, but yet it upset me. I kept seeing the boa constrictor that swallowed an elephant whole all day and thought about the man’s life, connections, and hopes. Was he understood? Did he refuse perceptions and demand to be known and to know, giving others the same courtesy of life’s desire?
I cried over him today. The same desire being inside of me, somehow the corpse who had been the man and I shared that relation. So I cried for my brother and hoped someone had seen him. As I hope to be seen.
Live as courageously as The Little Prince and believe. You can connect.
Self-Care Tip # 126 – Demand with your life, to be known. Connect. Be a friend to yourself.
Question: What obstacles to connecting have you been covered with? How have you refused them? Please tell me your story.