02 March 2010

The Face

Tonight the Mama-san told me that earlier in the week Trinhity asked her, "Mommy, what does God look like?" It's a grand question, of course. I'd like to know myself.

"Mommy, is God a boy or a girl?" Again, something I've wondered myself. Mama answered, "Well, God is probably both a boy and a girl, but also neither." A worthy answer, and ironic: it's a dichotomy that perhaps only a child would truly be able to grasp.

Trinh replied, "OK. But I think He's a boy." She went on, "I'm going to draw a picture of him. But Mommy, all my pictures of boys look the same. Except for Tai Tai because his hair goes up. But all the other boys, their hair goes down. I'll have to draw God so He looks like all the other boys."

Me, all I could think of was Borges:
...Mankind has lost a face, an irretrievable face, and all have longed to be that pilgrim — imagined in the Empyrean, beneath the Rose — who in Rome sees the Veronica and murmurs in faith, “Lord Jesus, my God, true God, is this then what Thy face was like?”

...If we truly knew what it was like, the key to the parables would be ours and we would know whether the son of the carpenter was also the Son of God.

...Perhaps a feature of the crucified face lurks in every mirror; perhaps the face died, was erased, so that God may be all of us.

Who knows but that tonight we may see it in the labyrinth of dreams, and tomorrow not know we saw it.
[shamefully excerpted from Paradiso, XXXI, 108 by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Mildred Boyer, from the compilation in Dreamtigers. The full text, which you really should read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest, and which I probably should never have dared abstract, is here.]

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