I sat on a train in New York City, with my new babe wrapped snuggly against my chest when I saw a woman yawn. It was a small thing, that yawn, but witnessing it gave way to a big thought, for in the days and nights since my daughter’s birth, I have delighted in watching her teensy, tiny mouth stretch open. Her yawns are beautiful to me.
Soon without even trying, I pictured the yawning woman as a yawning baby. Was she fawned over and delighted in? Did someone study her face for hours and rejoice over each changing expression? Did that person find her yawns beautiful? I hoped very much that that was the case.
Soon after that, I looked at the faces of our co-passengers. Some were young. Others were old. Many ethnicities were represented. As I gazed at them, my strongest thought was: “They must have been beautiful babies.”
I shared the thought without the story on facebook, and one of my friends wrote that it reminded her of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith: “The main character of the book looks at gruff old men whose shoes have holes and are worn down. Their toes are exposed through the holes, and the girl looks at them and imagines their mamas kissing their feet as little babies and loving them.”
Now it reminds me of that, too, but it also reminds me of another book, Les Misérables. Among the many beautiful and important lines is this, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I wonder if it could go the other way as well, if it might also be the case that to see the face of another person is to love God.
What thoughts or experiences have helped you look at others in a more Godlike way?
How do those thoughts or experiences change the way that you relate to them?
(A few days after my train experience, I found myself walking amidst many New York strangers. A tad bit overwhelmed, I thought, “There are so many people.” And then I thought something else: “And I want to smile at all of them.” So I tried.)