Saturday, August 19, 2006

Faces and Places

I was in the city yesterday; met Rebecca for lunch and then ran some errands. Actually, I walked some errands. And there is nothing like a walk through the city; there's the traffic and the noise, sure. Some beautiful architecture, shops, etc. But the best part is when you look up and allow the great wave of human faces to wash over you.

The city is a microcosm; a world in miniature. I saw busy men busily walking, talking into their plastic devices, women without haste pointing out flowers to their babies, and the elderly sliding along at an even slower pace, perhaps in an effort to teach us that life moves fast enough already, no need to push it along. Turning a corner onto Market Street, another wave breaks over me, and I see broken men slumped over plastic bags, full of our discarded treasures. What stories could they tell? A pair of young faces, sitting on a corner near a store, looking weathered, tired, tatooed, and thoroughly pierced. The young man held a sign: "Travelling - anything can help." I wonder where they want to go?

I want to look deeply at each person; I'm amazed at the uniqueness of everyone, of every shade and texture and color on this coat of many colors that is humanity. But no one makes eye contact in the city. Not for more than 2 seconds anyway (I timed it, 2 was the record). We don't have the time, or we are caught up in our own stuff, and we're not thinking. Or it's just the natural response to an overwhelming amount of activity; the world is too much with us, and we put up walls to keep ourselves safe.

There is a film called Powder (it's been awhile since we had a filmable! See previous post on Filmables). In the movie, a young boy is given the gift to read hearts. He knows what thoughts are stirring deep in the souls of the people around him. Many are afraid of Powder; it's the fear of the unknown, the fear of being known. But one young girl looks him in the face. "What are people like... on the inside?" she asks.

"They think they are alone," he tells her. "They feel separate.... but they are not."

As hard as it is, and I struggled with this yesterday, we must look into each other's eyes. We must return to that innocence, that openness that we had as children, who always look, who see, who watch the faces on the bus and the train. Slowly, prayerfully, carefully, always mindful of the wounds in ourselves and others, let's build up this One Body. Listening to the desire that rests in all of us to know and to be known. St. Augustine said "The deepest desire of the human heart is to see another and to be seen."

We are one. One body, one diamond that turns in the Hand of God, throwing off a multitude of refracted light and beauty. Only our own fear and sin can dim that light, separating us from God, from each other, from ourselves.

Lord, let your Face shine upon us and we shall be saved!

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