"Person" is a funny thing to call someone. It comes from the Latin for "mask,"
a thing put on the face so that the wearer can be misunderstood.
Built right into our language about each other is the assumption that we can do little more than pretend,
that the surface of another is the best we can manage.
That the less known, the better. But we forget
we know less, and go on acting as though we knew it all.
Moses once asked to see God's face.
He was denied. For his own good, as he understood it.
"No one sees my face and lives," came a voice, present, disembodied.
Moses was troubled. "God, why would I die?"
"I didn't say die.
"I said you won't be able to live,
To see my expression is to become obsessed with it.
If you see me smile you'll wonder if I'm paying attention to all that ails the world.
Or worse, you'll think you uniquely cracked the code on making me happy. Which means if you see me scowl, or frown, you'll assume you were the cause of that too. That'd wreck you, as you can't even handle a dirty look from the neighbor kid.
And if you think I'm scowling because your enemies are my enemies, that'll get people killed.
And what if my face looks surprised to you? You'll think circumstances have caught me off guard. You'll panic. Nothing good comes from panic.
How about a wrinkled nose? You'll think I, like you, rank sins based on what makes me gag. Moses, I don't gag. Don't even have the reflex.
And if you see me expressionless, you'll think I stopped caring at all. Sometimes I wish I could. Alas, I am Love.
If I seem old, you'll think young people have nothing good to contribute.
If I look young, you'll think human worth expires before it dies.
Moses, no one sees my face and lives."
But Moses persisted, "God, it would be worth it. Let me see your face. Please."
God replied, "Frankly, Moses, I don't even have a face. Make no image of it so the news about this can remain good."
Moses made pouty lips, then ducked his eyebrows in frustration. He even rolled his eyes. But God didn't notice, because God was focused on the unseen beauty of Moses' heart.