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When A Heart Smiles


Men don’t inhabit a country; we inhabit a language. ~Jaume Cabré

Is a country simply a land mass bounded by contiguous borders? Or is it the collective humans identifying with each other based on a common understanding of an ideal as expressed in language? Or a desire for a unifying goal, an incorporation of a united, collective mythology?

I think of the Catholic church and I am lead to believe, men inhabit a collective mythology where any mass attended feels like home irrespective of physical borders. When I lived in India and encountered another native American English speaker, I felt a kindred connection, a home outside the arbitrary border bounding the contiguous United States.

The human spirit cannot be hemmed in by capricious, physical limitations be they government imposed country definitions or a prison cell. The human spirit has the power to transcend even verbal language to make a connection.

I connected with street kids in India with whom I was separated by a gulf of incomprehensible language on both sides by creating a bridge made of two smiles, mine and Sheetal’s. It was a bridge buoyed by empathy and random acts of kindness.

All humans inhabit a community we just need to extend a smiling heart.

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