Gilead, Part 4, The Human Face

Part 3, The Human Face

They say an infant can’t see when it is as young as your sister was, but she opened her eyes, and she looked at me. She was such a little bit of a thing. But while I was holding her, she opened her eyes. I know she didn’t really study my face. Memory can make a thing seem to have been much more than it was. But I know she did look right into my eyes. That is something. And I’m glad I knew it at the time, because now, in my present situation, I realize that there is nothing more astonishing than a human face. Boughton and I have talked about that, too. It has something to do with incarnation. You feel your obligation to a child when you have seen it and held it. Any human face is a claim on you, because you can’t help but understand the singularity of it, the courage and loneliness of it. But this is the truest of the face of an infant. I consider that to be one kind of vision, as mystical as any. Boughton agrees.

(pp. 65-66)

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2 thoughts on “Gilead, Part 4, The Human Face

  1. When I read this post, I thought of the portraits by photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon; they show “there is nothing more astonishing than a human face.”

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    • Yes!!! I did think of those as well. There is also this passage from Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory. I have it somewhere, but I haven’t actually read the novel.

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