What’s Can You See in a Face?
I always looked at people as people and didn’t really study their faces. Not like artists who are looking for that one particular face that stands out among the rest. That is, until recently. I went to a birthday party for a lady who was 80 years old. The attendees ranged from a few months to the guest of honor’s age of 80. Although many were related, some were not. I couldn’t help but look at each person’s face with a new light.
Looking into the face of an eighty-year-old woman, each wrinkle signifies something different. I kept imagining one wrinkle for every cry over the troubles of her own or her children or the losses in her life of husband and family. Yet, also, with that face came the smiles of happiness. Happiness of seeing a son she hadn’t seen for a year. Happiness of seeing a great-great-grandchild who had just been born. Happiness of all the people who were there to wish her the best. One thing I noticed was the eyes were happy, not sad.
I couldn’t help but think about my life during the different stages of life as I looked at the corresponding face of the person with whom I was talking. Of course, I can’t remember anything less than about five years of age. Then I remembered happy times and fights with boys, related and unrelated. I was opinionated even then. In the face of the young married couples, I saw their hopes for the future with their mates and the love for their children. Talking to the young professionals, I saw the glint in their eyes and the smile on their faces as they talked about their dreams.
Many people have speculated about Mona Lisa’s smile. I envy the artist who can, not only, paint a portrait, but also portray the soul of his subject.
Faces are the gateway to souls. I hope that when, or if, I reach 80, I will be as happy as the lady I saw.