The Face Of God: Startling, moving me to the Max — “namaste” where least expected
by Marcia Singer, MSW, CHt
It was a typical day at Woodland Care Center, except that I had come to work with laryngitis. I didn’t think I was otherwise ill, no virus, no contagion. I needed the work, the money, and I also didn’t want to let anyone down. That included the long-term care resident patients, and my supervisor, Jeannie.
Jean was a special woman, largesse in both body and soul, Hispanic and from a large family. She’d endured a bout of breast cancer, as have quite a few women Activity Directors; they are asked to do far too many tasks within the job title, and often feel inadequate, because well, there’s no way to do it all as well as you really wanted to have it all done. Or with the budgets you’re given. Or lack of assistant staff.
Jeannie had assigned me room visits. On this day I went to her without my guitar, since I only play as back up to my voice, and I couldn’t sing –at all. I had brought instead, a small tape recorder with the beautiful song by Karen Drucker: “You Are The Face Of God.” I’d thought to mouth the words and perhaps tinkle the triangle, too.
Jean was so dear: she trusted me to try it, knowing if it didn’t work, I would tell her, and head back home.
Silva was occupying a semi-private room, close to the window, in Bed B. Silva was from a Middle Eastern family with a last name with five syllables. I was so fascinated by that, that I mastered it after a few visits. Silva however, could not help with that process, since she was unable to speak, although she could make sounds that conveyed her emotions. She had use of only one eye, as well, the other sewn shut.
When I inquired, my supervisor explained that she had tried to commit suicide with a gun, shooting herself in the head… But she lived. As fortune would have it, Silva also generally was smiling, and seemed genuinely happy. Who was I to question that?
So, on this day, I tiptoed into her room, nearing her bed, as she was sleeping.
She ‘felt’ me there, opened her eye, and smiled broadly. I explained briefly that I couldn’t talk either, today. I gestured towards the tape player, then turned it on.
“You Are The Face of God, I hold you in my heart. You are a part of me, You Are the Face of God…” I mouthed the words, so that Silva would know what I was singing to her.
She looked at me quizzically. Then she shook her head, and pointed to me. It took a moment, then I realized she was telling me that it was I who was the Face of God –not her! I shook my head, no, it is you! And Silva, staring into my eyes, kept pointing at me. No, it’s you…
I got very teary. For those precious moments, we both were seeing the Beauty in one another, the timeless, mysterious ‘face of goddess’ in each other. I felt Seen truly, and perhaps Silva did, as well.
I’ll always recall that day, when I had no voice but found a Greater one, and when our three eyes saw as One.