by Julie Redstone
The face is God's canvas, showing through the illumination of the eyes
and through the way breath fills out the nose and mouth,
what qualities of soul lie within...
As different as one face is from another, one signature from another, one laugh from another, are the gestures of the soul that go unnoticed in the course of each day,
These gestures share with us the inner essence of those whom we walk among and spend our time with. They are the flowering of expression of the inner being and in their own way, are signatures of the heart and of the soul.
Take, for example, the ways in which people hold their hands. We notice, of course, when someone is expressing anxiety through their hands – when the palms sweat, when fingers are rubbed against each other, when hands nervously tap against the knee or against another body part. Equally worthy of attention are the ways in which hands flutter when a person speaks, point when something needs to be underscored, wave and shake when some strong emotion is passing through, and move like a graceful bird through the air, often, as a deep reflection of the life of the self that is being shared.
Hands are beautiful expressions of God's grace manifesting through individual bodies. In addition to being functional, whether gnarled or smooth, freckled or clear-skinned, stubby or elegant in form, each pair of hands is capable of revealing the soul within. Each pair is beautiful.
It is similar with faces - not just the outer appearance of the face which one automatically takes in, but the gestures of the face – the slight movements of mouth, lips, nose, and eyebrows that reflect the inner state of being, especially when one feels unguarded and alone. Then the face takes on magical qualities of expression, becoming a unique and selective canvas on which the soul paints its own form of beauty and gives expression to its own form of pain. The face is God's canvas as well, showing through the illumination of the eyes and through the way breath fills out the nose and mouth, what qualities of soul lie within.
All that is human and that appears as a physical manifestation of an individual self has both function and grace to it. The function is what it is used for, and individuals have varying degrees of competence, for example, in the skill with which they can use their hands, or the ways in which fingers of different lengths can apply themselves to specific types of learning. But the grace that operates through the hands is the capacity they hold to act as expressive illuminators of the soul – writing in the air itself the wordless message that the soul wishes to express.
For those who are ready, the world is also ready to be seen in its soul-ness and in its beauty, as well as in its suffering. It has been there all along to be witnessed in this way. It is a matter of opening the eyes and caring to see, knowing that through our own eyes and our own seeing, we are giving value and importance to the sacred expression of other souls and to the gift of grace that has brought them here.