Have you considered the significance of a human face?
I was minding my own business at the grocery store the other day, when I looked up from the peanut butter jar I had in my hand. I was buying some snacks for my father, who lives in a local retirement facility. Frustrated because his favorite brand was nowhere to be found—chased off the shelf by an obscure virus and dozens of people who suddenly thought peanut butter would vanish in its wake—I threw the off-brand into my cart and moved down the aisle. I felt the heat of anger drift above my collar.
What are people thinking?
I turned the corner and saw an elderly woman fingering jam jars. She tapped each lid, picked one jar out of the meager selection and held it in her weathered hand, then put it back. Perhaps she’d decided jam wasn’t a necessity, but her face told me she really loves jam.
A tired-looking mom with three young children approached from a different direction. A weekday, and they weren’t in school. Her children danced and cavorted around her, vying for attention.
“Mama, can we have that?”
“I want some cookies, Mama.”
“Can we get a movie?”
She shushed them and moved on, then hesitated in front of the cookies, hand extended to pick up a package. But she didn’t. Her worried face was set—her eyes held a glint of steel.
I recognized that glint. Necessities only, it blared. But kids don’t speak that language.
I moved on to the meat counter, where I was greeted by a smiley-faced young man of about twenty-something.
“Can I help you, ma’am?”
I decided we needed some chicken in the freezer. The pickings were slim, let me tell you. I looked up at him.
“This is all you have?”
“Yes, ma’am. Chicken seems a popular item these days. The virus, you know—”
“Yes, I know. I’ll take three packages, two breasts in each package.” I didn’t want to engage in yet another virus-laden discussion.
As he wrapped my chicken, I studied his face. Eagerness to please radiated—how pleasant to see.
“You know,” I said, “I’m glad you’re here.”
He looked up. “Where else would I be? This is where I work.”
Where else indeed?
He smiled and handed the packages to me.
“Thank you for being here. I know it’s where you work—but thank you anyway.”
The young employee frowned. He clearly did not understand, but it was okay.
In a blinding moment of clarity, I’d realized who this young man was. And the elderly woman. And the mom with her three children. And every other face I’d encountered while I wandered these familiar aisles. I thought about it as I walked away, noticing other faces.
These were my neighbors. They were friends whose names I didn’t know …yet. They were my companions, walking this path of fear and uncertainty with me. We’d been thrust into the same canoe, all pulling our oars in the same direction—toward normalcy. This alien bug, this tiny, unseen enemy had pushed us together and molded us into a common front. We now stood shoulder-to-shoulder, fighting for ourselves and others to survive. To get back to normal life, if there is such a thing anymore.
How odd that I’d never realized before that the people in my town are just like me. My face is etched with worry. My eyes have a glint of steel. My heart and mind want to be free from this battle against an enemy that didn’t exist a few short weeks ago.
Faces. Molded by the Creator. Each one branded with His Name. No two exactly alike. Known by Him, caressed by Him, shaped by Him.
Faces are the front door of the soul.
Next time you’re out and about, look around you. Don’t just hustle around taking care of business. Pause. Look. At God’s marvelous, creative expression of Himself. The human face.
Remember that each face—born or unborn, young or old, angry or smiling—was once cupped by the hands of God, touched by His fingers, caressed by His breath.
And when you get home, look in the mirror. Your face is precious to Him. No virus can kill that love.