10 May 2009

The Human Face

In Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, a dying pastor in Iowa writes his memoirs to his son. At one point he says:

Now, in my present situation, now that I am about to leave this world, I realize there is nothing more astonishing than a human face. . . . It has something to do with incarnation. You feel your obligation to a child when you have seen it and held it. Any human face is a claim on you, because you can't help but understand the singularity of it, the courage and loneliness of it. But this is truest of the face of an infant. I consider that to be one kind of vision, as mystical as any. (p. 66)

And later:

It has been my experience that guilt can burst through the smallest breach and cover the landscape, and abide in it in pools and danknesses, just as native as water. (p. 82)

1 comment:

ErinOrtlund said...

That's one of my favorite books--great quotes!