“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
There is a reason why Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince for grown ups who are apt to forget the things that they knew so intuitively when they were children.
The excerpt above, for example, strikes us as beautiful and true. We grasp the total uniqueness and utter unrepeatability of those we love.
Yet, sometimes grown ups who are very educated and professional can forget such things.
And here is a poignant example from Wendell Berry’s talk, “Health is Membership“:
When John was in intensive care after his surgery, his wife, Carol, was standing by his bed, grieving and afraid. Wanting to reassure her, the nurse said, “Nothing is happening to him that doesn’t happen to everybody.”
And Carol replied, “I’m not everybody’s wife.”
Can someone who treats one hundred thousand husbands remember their radical uniqueness and unrepeatability to each wife?