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'Letter to a Hostage' by Antoine Saint Exupery is a beautiful little book that has given great inspiration to me over the years. Particularly a short section in the middle of the book where he describes his experience of being taken hostage during the Spanish Civil War. Held captive he experienced the total loss of his humanity as his captors ignored him, failing to acknowledge him or even look at him. And then after two days the moment of transformation, he asks a guard for a cigarette and eventually the guard turns his way, looks him in the eye and smiles. In that moment, he shares, the miracle of the smile "did not conclude the tragedy, it removed it all together as light does shadow...nothing had been said, yet all had been resolved'. He concludes 'We communicate in a smile beyond languages, classes, and parties. We are the faithful members of the same church, you with your customs,I with mine.'

As I have journeyed, seeking the connective stories of people's lives I have often experienced the smile as the perhaps the most powerful of love stories. In that moment we acknowledge another's existence. It is a gesture of welcome, of acceptance, it is an opening out. As a stranger walking through the land I have experienced that a smile can transform a day, remove loneliness and grant that feeling of connection and belonging to something.

I recommend this book to anyone and wonder if anyone has experienced the sense of connection a smile of acknowledgement can bring.


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Subject Views Written By Posted
A Smile - Letter to a Hostage 2328 MattHopwood 13-Jun-18 20:44
Re: A Smile - Letter to a Hostage 430 Itatw70s 16-Jun-18 01:41
Re: A Smile - Letter to a Hostage 654 MattHopwood 19-Jun-18 20:47
Re: A Smile - Letter to a Hostage 432 Naveen 16-Jun-18 21:17

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