Storytelling is an art and my husband was lucky enough to run into an artist.
My husband was in China years ago and was advised to walk down a back alley, climb up a set of stairs and find a certain man. That's it, no other details...so he did it.
The man was a traveling magician, a nomad really, who went all over the world performing illusions and telling jokes. Often, he would work for free to raise money for charities. He was away more than he was home, so the world became his residence.
That evening he told my husband some stories...and then my husband told me.
Years earlier the magician was approached and asked if he could host a fellow entertainer that was coming to town. He agreed. Not having a lot of money, he called in lots of favors to dine at restaurants and show this new guy the town. He was a little miffed when the visitor, David, asked to dine at a particularly expensive restaurant on his last night in town but he, somehow, got enough money together to pay for the meal. Later he took David to see his show. He sat him down in the front row and said “Let me show you what I do for a living...”
A short time later, the magician received an invitation to come visit his new friend. David wanted to repay the hospitality the magician had shown. Along with the invite, was a first class plane ticket. When he arrived at his destination, he was picked up by a limousine and taken to an auditorium. He was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the place and the crowd gathered there but happy to be reunited with his new friend. David took him to the front row and said “Let me show you what I do for a living...”
And then the band came out from behind the stage and started to play.
And the magician saw his first U2 concert.
David Howell Evans, otherwise know as the "Edge" was his new friend.
Another time, another show.
This was one of his free shows but there was one problem. No one was laughing at his jokes or enjoying the magic. The show was halfway over and the audience of children remained stone-faced.
Determined to get a smile...he worked harder, told more jokes and then finally..one of the boys smiled. And then another did.
And then... they started laughing. Giggling. Snorting. Holding their belly- laughing.
Over the sounds of their voices he heard another sound.
He'd never heard a laugh like hers before. It was loud, raucous and jarring. It practically hurt his ears. It was the oddest laugh he'd ever heard.
He made it through the performance and sat down wearily in a back room afterwards. When someone came by to check on him he asked the man, “What just happened...”
The boys in the audience, the man explained, were actually child soldiers. They were emotionally damaged, by not only what they witnessed, but by what they’d been forced to do. Prior to their arrival in the orphanage, they’d hurt and killed women and other children. No one had ever seen any of them smile or laugh.
The magician took a breath and nodded, remembering their faces and laugher.
And then he remembered the other noise. So he asked...."What was that awful noise- was that truly someone laughing?"
The man smiled and said that it was the woman in charge. She just couldn't seem to help herself. When she'd seen the boys smile and giggle like normal children...she couldn't hold back her own laughter. Despite the appalling noise.
That woman was Mother Teresa. She was canonized and declared a saint in 2016. And that's how a magician helped a saint.
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