Friday, April 28, 2006

embracing grace

i preaching on the theme of embracing grace this sunday. one of the stories i plan on using comes from: "Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery" by Richard Selzer. this story always breaks me up.
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 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 generously, 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 I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth, and I so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show that their kiss still works.


Anonymous said...

I love your website. It has a lot of great pictures and is very informative.

Anonymous said...

Interesting site. Useful information. Bookmarked.

Anonymous said...

This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.