Thursday, November 17, 2005

Encounter with a god

I've been reading The Ragamuffin Gospel -- Visual Edition. The original is probably one of my top-5 favorite books of all time, and this visual edition is a great, condensed compilation of some of the most significant thoughts throughout the book. Here's a passage that I read this morning: In his book, Mortal Lessons, Richard Selzer, MD, writes: I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve. Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generousely, greedily? The young woman speaks. "Will my mouth always be like this?" she asks. "Yes," I say, "it will. It is because the nerve was cut." She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. "I like it," he says, "It is kind of cute." All at once I know who he is. I understand and lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accomodate hers, to show her that their kiss still works.

1 comment:

Holly said...

As you may have guessed....that made me cry