This time I’ve decided to go off topic, probably because St Valentine’s day is approaching and it has always been very meaningful for me, being my name’s day as well!
(In my hometown, we celebrate the Saint associated to the name and it is actually a big deal!)
My mum, quite a romantic person, was supposed to give birth shortly after St Valentine’s day, and she decided to name me after the patron saint of lovers.
And talking about romance, I have recently received as an expected gift a copy of “The Little Prince” and it made me feel quite emotional, since it was my very first time reading it.
Despite the fact that the French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery published his first copy 75 years ago, The Little Prince is still giving us priceless lessons about love and life.
My favourite chapter of the book is the one about the little Prince and the fox.
“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there’s no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me…”
“What must I do, to tame you? asked the little prince.
“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. First you’ll sit down at a little distance from me – like that – in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you’ll sit a little closer to me, every day…”
The next day the little prince came back.
“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If for example, you came at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is ready to greet you… One must observe the proper rites…”
“What’s a rite?” asked the little prince.
“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “they’re what make one day different from other days, one hour different from other hours” .
The fox teaches the little Prince what it means growing to love a person. After the process of taming, they will come to mean something to each other and will need each other.
However, the real lesson about true love comes from the relationship between the little prince and the rose.
He leaves his planet because of her but then she is the reason why he comes back.
The rose has troubles in expressing his love and drives him away.
This is what commonly happens in any relationships.
Love is tricky and causes pain. We expect that there is a button to push that can make someone loves us the way we want to be loved, the way we have pictured in our head.
It would be great, wouldn’t it?
Eventually, the methaphor of the Little Prince and the rose shows us that love doesn’t mean sufferance, it means wanting the best for the other person, even when it’s not the best for us.
It means letting someone to follow his path, even when ours is different from theirs.
The most famous quote of the book, “L’essential est invisible pour les yeux”, wants to teach us that the heart, which can symbolize also the soul or spirit, is what truly matters in life.
You must not be deceived by the appearance, frivolous things or words (“Words are the source of misunderstanding”, says the fox to him).
Love is hard work. It requires consistency, effort and constant attention to details. There is no such a thing as true love without going through rough patches and difficult times.
But once again, the real meaning of life is beneath the surface.
… after all, you don’t need to get married to talk about love 😉