To See the Face of God


amazing grace

amazing grace (Photo credit: eschipul)

Take my hand
And lead me to salvation
Take my love
For love is everlasting
And remember
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.

Herbert Kretzmer‘s lyric based on Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

So here I am on a beautiful, warm, spring Sunday sitting inside with a miserable cold. Having just watched a rerun of the movie Ghost, I  am now watching PBS‘ telecast of the 25th Anniversary concert of “Les Mis.”  I missed church today, but watching this and listening to its redemptive message will be worship enough, I think.

Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert at the...

Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert at the O2 Arena London (Photo credit: Nikonmania)

Now I don’t think everyone listens to this musical as if it were a theological lesson, but you can.  Hugo himself analyzed it like this: “The book is, from one end to the other… a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God.”

My husband keeps talking about using it for a teaching class. For him it is the perfect vehicle to experience the difference between the God of the law and judgement, as represented by Javert, and the God of Grace, represented first by the Bishop, and later by Valjean as he redeems Fantine and Cossette, and thereby himself.

For me Les Mis is a spiritual lesson on grace, but equally a representation of the everlasting nature of love. Somehow, coincidentally, my day has really fit together.  Sam Wheat said it well in Ghost. As he leaves for the light of heaven, he tells his lost love, “It’s amazing, Molly, the love inside, you take it with you.”

When my mother died, I struggled with my loss of her.  I will never be able to fully explain it or completely understand it, but I had an experience that made things better. I share it and you can make of it what you will.

I was in bed praying for her and for myself. At some point in my anguish I felt like I screamed, “Mom.”  This was not out loud, but it felt like it came from the depths of my soul. And then comes the part I will have to ask you to accept, or leave, on your own terms. For then, in a way I cannot explain, I felt my mother’s love envelope me.  And I knew peace.

Whatever it was, I knew love really does live on. Hugo was right. My mom, like Sam, has taken her love with her, though she also left it behind with me. And like Valjean, I believe her love has let her see the face of God.

So today my wish for you is for the blessing of love, and that you use it to join the people “climbing to the light.” Look around.  Through the eyes of love, the face of God is everywhere.

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About joanneeddy

Writer living in North Carolina. Originally from upstate New York. I love my family, my community, and my friends, and embrace 'living deliberately' in the world, trying to make a difference. I have written an as yet unpublished book, The Call, an epic fantasy with historical fiction and folklore elements. My blog is for other writers, for those who love a good read, and for all who, like me, are looking to find and live their call.
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One Response to To See the Face of God

  1. Thank-you so much for sharing that story about our mom. It all makes sense to me. On the day Mommy died, about a half an hour before we got the call from you, I felt this overwhelming sense of her presence, and felt as though I needed to speak to all of my children, who at the time were 9, 7, 5 and 1 years old. I was just overcome with emotion and I told them my mom was dying and I wanted to say a prayer for her. I told them I only hoped that I could be as loving a mom to them as she was to us. I hugged them all and told them about how much she hugged us and expressed her love. We went into my son’s room and got down on our knees. I told them I wanted to pray to Mary, who was such a loving mother like our mom. As we were praying, my little Michael, age 5 stopped me in the middle of the prayer saying, “Mom, she’s here.” “I see her”. I said, “Who?”, She said, “Mary.”. I found this a bit hard to believe, but I asked him more. “What does she look like?” I asked in a hushed voice. He was whispering, too. “She’s got a blue thing over her head”, he said. I knew he had never seen even a picture of Mary, and when he described someone he’d never seen before, I had to think, wow, this could be true. This was the beginning of just some of the miraculous experiences we had with Mary. I know our Grammy had a devotion to Mary, as do many Catholics but I didn’t really give her a lot of through in my upbringing.
    I did have an experience at around the age of four, where I was awakened by a lady in a beautiful seamless gown, who touched me on the face and spoke to me telepathically, telling me she was there to say goodbye for a little while, but I would see her again one day. I was confused because somehow she was letting me know that she was my mother. So I ran downstairs and asked Mommy if she had just been upstairs in our room. She said, “No, dear, you must have been dreaming”. I was so angry with her for saying that. I felt my experience was invalidated, and I refused to see what happened as a dream. I knew it was real. I never let go of believing in the reality of what happened. Years later I began drawing pictures from the subconscious mind, and drew a woman with 12 stars around her head. More years later, I saw her again after praying the rosary all night long when I was worried about our oldest son. She appeared and I saw the 12 stars around her head. She has become very important to me, and somehow, she is very much interconnected to who our beautiful mother is and was. How lucky were were to be recipients of such extraordinary love, so warmly, and deeply expressed to us, with incredibly tenderness, yet surrounding us with her strength. She really did protect us. I will never forget that one night you had a nightmare when we were living together in Buffalo going to UB. You sat straight up in bed and screamed “Mommy!” You were probably close to 21 years old at the time. I know that primal call, and how deeply the love and security of her was for us.

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