“One only understands the things that one tames,” the fox says to the little prince. He goes on to explain that “taming” means taking whatever time we need to get to know someone, to become comfortable with someone, to be really present with each other and to be willing to suffer because we open ourselves to loving and being loved.
When you tame someone, you take care of them. You would die for them. And the one you “tame,” he may be as ordinary as thousands of other people on the face of the earth, but because he has become unique to you, there is no one like him in your eyes. He is absolutely priceless to you.
After the Little Princes tames the fox, the fox gifts him this secret: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
My sweet daughter-in-law embroidered this quote from The Little Prince for me, and it sits in a frame on my mantle. I dust it weekly, and I smile every time my eyes come across it.
I grew up thinking that The Little Prince was the best book in the entire world because it was my dad’s favorite. Oh, how I wish I could speak to him about it now that I have lived a few years, now that I have tamed a few friends.
I would tell him that in the process of taming each other, my husband and I wove ourselves into each other’s hearts. In the process of taming each other, we created a forever circle of safety where the uglies and the gorgeous live, in the midst of which we breathe, and dance, and cry, and grow. And the beauty of taming, it got deeper and deeper as the years went from one to five to ten to twenty-five to thirty-seven and counting.
To the young passerbys, we more than likely seem like a plain older couple–no extra-ordinary markings to make us noticeable. They are busy starting the process of taming, these young ones; they read books, they quote quotes, they are figuring it out.
But the beauty of taming, it takes shape in the living. In the dirty socks on the floor and the ice cream Sundays in the middle of the night. In the awe of gloriously fulfilled promises and the wildfires of testing. In the places so tight that one can hardly breathe and the wide expanses of deep joy. In the agony of understanding the depth of forgiveness and the relief of surrendered love. In the giggles of births and the mourning of deaths.
My husband and I, we marvel at the delightful fruit crafted through that most ordinary day-in and day-out taming. My husband and I, we no longer look with our eyes; we have learned to see with the heart. And that is the best. My husband and I, we moved from quote to life.