Looking for Your Face

Looking for Your Face

It is a quiet and cold morning here, but we are snug by the fire with dogs. I am filled with gratitude, enjoying the afterglow of one of the best Valentine’s Days I have ever had. People often tease Dan and me about being such romantics, but we both remember other days, long ago days of other relationships where we didn’t have the luxury of genuine acceptance, gratitude, and the deep love and respect that we enjoy now. What a difference the years have made.

I can still see so clearly the moment when I decided to truly keep the hope of love alive in my heart. I was living in North Carolina and my mother had come for a rare visit. I had kept everything from her as best I could about my crumbling marriage, but as we sat on the couch in the quiet house talking, my dog Guinness at my feet, my always perceptive mother stopped and said, “Honey, I can tell that something is wrong. It’s okay- you can tell me.” I crumbled, dissolving in tears. Mom held me close, rocking me as I finally told her the truth in racking sobs. I never wanted her to worry about me, but I should have known she could always see through my charade. My story was in so many ways similar to the one she had lived through herself. She listened to me, stroking my back, telling me it would be okay, telling me how much she loved me, how strong I was, and how I deserved to be happy. After opening up to her, something clicked in me, and I knew that no matter how hard I tried,  I could no longer live in a situation that was killing me inside.

I broke away from the life I knew- a long marriage, a job I loved, colleagues, students, and friends that I treasured, the mountains that had become a part of my soul. My angels were looking out for me, and I won two jobs the same week, choosing the university in Birmingham that was closest to my family in Florida. I found the old house with beautiful views that I knew would be mine while sitting in my office at Mars Hill, the home that would become a savior of sorts to me. As I restored it, repairing its foundation, I, too grew stronger, more determined. I began to open my heart to the idea that I was meant to find love again. I found that love in someone who worked as the facilities manager of the performing arts center right next to the music building, someone who had scheduled my recitals for a year, but someone I hadn’t yet met because I hadn’t been ready. Now I was.

I will never take this gift of love for granted. We celebrate the little things, and Valentine’s Day is very special to us- how wonderful to set aside a day to celebrate love..something we rejoice in every single day. I woke up to find a beautiful card and a gift on my dresser. When I came downstairs in the early morning light, Dan was ready for me, and he began reading a poem that has special significance to us, one that I read to him at our wedding on the waterfall….


From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it

Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty

the unfathomable grace

of the face
that I was looking for

Today I have found you
and those who laughed
and scorned me yesterday
are sorry that they were not looking
as I did

I am bewildered by the magnificence
of your beauty
and wish to see you
with a hundred eyes

My heart has burned with passion
and has searched forever
for this wondrous beauty
that I now behold

I am ashamed
to call this love human
and afraid of God
to call it divine

Your fragrant breath
like the morning breeze
has come to the stillness of the garden
You have breathed new life into me
I have become your sunshine
and also your shadow

My soul is screaming in ecstacy
Every fiber of my being
is in love with you

Your efflugence
has lit a fire in my heart
for me
the earth and sky

My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy
and my heart
is a place of prayer

(The Love Poems of RUMI
Edited by Deepak Chopra
Translations by Farsi scholar Fereydoun Kia)

I went into the guest room where Mom’s special chest of drawers is, the beautiful painting of she and I done by artist Holly Kallie sitting in its frame on top. I put the stuffed bear holding a heart by Mom’s image- she always loved Valentine’s Day so much, never stopped believing in love even after all of the pain she experienced. I remembered her telling me on her deathbed that she wouldn’t need to worry about me because I had Dan, and she knew he would always take good care of me because he loved me so much. I kissed my finger and placed the kiss on the painting at Mom’s lips. I closed my eyes and hoped that she could hear my words somehow, someway, “Thank you, Mom, thank you. I never stopped believing in love because of your example. I kept looking, and I found the face…the face I was looking for, and it is so beautiful.  My heart overflows with love.” It may have just been my imagination, but I felt the ghost of an embrace, a whisper of love never-ending.

My Valentine...
My Valentine…

2 thoughts on “Looking for Your Face

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