Getting dressed this morning, you must have certainly looked into a mirror. You probably took great care to make yourself look presentable, even lovable. But, did you check about wearing a big smile to light up your face? A song from the Broadway musical Annie insightfully says: “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”. How true.
Your face is your passport to enter into people’s lives. Today, your face will reveal to those you meet whether you’re glad or sad, whether you wish to talk to them or ignore them, and whether you wish them well or are simply uninterested in their welfare. So, why don’t you put your best face forward to everyone you’ll face today?
In the Bible, “face” has many meanings. Face stands for the “self”. To honour one’s face is to honour the person her/himself. When the king asks: “Why is your face sad?” it means, “Why are you sad?” With childlike simplicity, when Moses desires to hide himself, he covers his face and his radiant face amply indicates that he has seen God.
The face reveals nature and character. Gospel writer Luke describes the face of Christianity’s first martyr, Stephen, as the “face of an angel” and the transfigured face of Jesus “shone like the sun” indicating his divine nature.
The face indicates presence. To “see the face” simply means to be in the presence of someone. The psalmist “seeks the face of God” ever yearning to experience divine presence and power. Moreover, the face stands for light and blessing. “O God, may your face shine upon us that we may be saved” and “May the Lord make his face to shine upon you”.
Finally, the face reveals emotions: “No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no longer shall his face grow pale,” and, “A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance”. Prophet Ezekiel reproaches the wicked by saying: “Shame shall be on their faces”.
Be attentive to those you will face today. The faces of those you call chaiwalla, sabziwalli, chowkidar, maali or driver might only interest you for providing the services you need. But they all have names, besides being fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers of someone who loves them dearly. Wouldn’t it be good to put names to faces?
Giving a few extra bucks to the driver who drove you to work, asking the maali about his family, or gifting your cook a new sari occasionally cause faces to brighten and smiles to lengthen.
Every face tells a story. Let’s get behind the faces we see today and strive to brighten up a few of them with a kind word, a generous deed or a contagious smile. Even if others’ faces do not light up; surely, one will: yours.