I Saw the Face of God

This is the final post from my San Miguel de Allende experience. As a participant in this story, I was unable to take a photograph, nor would it have been appropriate. As such, I’ve pulled a photograph from my archives; a photograph that represents what this woman was to me — a lighthouse.

Standing in the central part of San Miguel de Allende taking candid photos during their colorful, Day of the Dead celebration, my attention was caught by an elderly woman who’d journeyed in from the campo — the outskirts of town.

Bent from time and weathered with age, her small gnarled hands gripped two short sticks to steady her steps as she slowly progressed. A swathe of fabric wrapped over her shoulder — positioned at an angle across her back — sheathed her few worldly possessions.

And while many others who visibly fared much better asked for handouts, this elderly woman looked neither left nor right, but remained focused on the task at hand — to make it into the cathedral.

Curiosity piqued, I followed her. Ever so slowly she made her way to the third pew from the back on the right-hand side. I sat in the back pew on the left to study the elderly woman unobserved. Her silent sermon spoke volumes to my heart as she sat with eyes closed, palms upward in supplication toward the crucifix at the front of the church:

Keep moving forward — even through the pain
Don’t be held hostage by the opinion of others
Limit material possessions — they are a burden
Make time to sit with God

Carefully folding money so it would fit, I quietly made my way across the aisle and gently pressed a bill into her work-worn, ancient hand, tucking her fingers as I did. Before I could step away, gnarled fingers grasped mine, while her other hand slowly and repeatedly made the sign of the cross — touching my head, chest, and shoulders — as she spoke.

And while I didn’t understand her words, I clearly understood that I was being blessed; that her cloudless, silver-grey eyes took in far more than my features — they took in my heart. More importantly, as my tears washed down her deeply lined face, I knew that I was looking into the face of God.

When was the last time someone looked into your heart?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony     Facebook

The photograph featured in this post was taken at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia.

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

89 thoughts on “I Saw the Face of God

  1. I remember this day as if it were yesterday. What a God-inspired moment for the world to see. We were all changed forever by the witness of this blessing.

  2. Wow, Laurie, what a powerful moment! I had chills reading this post. Do you remember the old movie “Oh God” with George Burns playing God? I believe God is in everyone and if everyone could accept that and live accordingly this would truly be a heaven on earth.

  3. Laurie…this is the most touching post. I am in tears reading it. What a blessing for you to experience this. Thank you for posting.

  4. Your positive energies meet and the cosmos rejoiced. Thank you for this beautiful post.
    I had the pleasure of sharing my heart, in writing, during a retreat I recently attended. This experience left me feeling validated, empowered and rejuvenated.

  5. More Kleenex, please. This post is so beautiful.

    A few years ago, I volunteered for a local Christmas project. I was assigned to shop for toys for a 9 year old girl whose mother said she loved Barbie. This family was desperately in need of so many basics–like beds for each child. While those needs were being addressed, the toy shoppers were given a little extra in the budget. Of course, I bought several Barbie outfits. As it turned out, I was also assigned to the delivery team for this family. When this child opened two of the Barbie boxes, her eyes filled with tears and she ran across the room to our Santa, hugging him so hard and weeping into his red coat. We could actually feel her joy! Even the men who helped bring in the tree had to quickly step outside to wipe their eyes. I will never forget her face. She gave everyone on our team a wonderful gift that morning.

    I got up really crabby today thinking of all I have to do in the next few weeks that relate to holiday activities. Thank you for reminding me what is important.

  6. Truly, I can imagine her face and the spirit of God within her. Thank you. The word Namaste came to my mind … I believe the translation (and would welcome anyones further correction here) … it’s said to mean the god within me bows to the god within you. This is to me the moment you shared.

  7. I love reading your posts Laurie! And what a beautiful picture too! I have never seen a lighthouse in person before, I hope someday I will 🙂 I would say my twin sister knows me so well that she knows my heart pretty well ^^

    • Any Lucky Penny – I’ve always been fascinated by twins! And I hope that in the near future you’ll get to visit a lighthouse in person. The one in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia is absolutely wonderful!

  8. Your story brought tears to my eyes, Laurie – how deeply blessed both you and the elderly woman were to find each other in that moment of grace. Thank you so much for sharing. We are all divine.

  9. On my long walks around the lake I try to greet all the homeless at the public restrooms and sitting on the benches. I call the health center and get a connection if there are problems. Most are Vietnam Vets still suffering and out in the cold – usually wet. I just try to make eye contact and a connection because I believe each one is God talking.
    I think our weather problems right now are Mother Earth talking – loudly and fervently about our course corrections needed.
    I wrote a book review for the 6th post this week and I did not like the book, but I tried to keep in my that this piece of fiction came from someone’s belief and faith in his religion and from his heart – I do not think I did such a beautiful job and you did, and yet maybe I will sell a few books for him and find the folks who will resonate with his story?

    This is a lovely post today Laurie and such beautiful takeaways….I am so working on freeing up the “stuff” which is a burden in my life….your words inspire me to keep at it.
    Thank you for this wealth of sharing.

  10. What an absolutely beautiful and touching story! And her silent sermon is exactly what I needed to hear today, too. Thank you, Laurie. Peace be with you!

  11. I am enthralled by this act of exchanging God and very humbled to have read your experience. You have transferred this to my heart now and I am eternally grateful.

  12. I was just there too. I think I saw the same woman. I was drawn to her too and did take a picture as stealthily as I could with my iPhone. I would be happy to send it to you, don’t know if I can attach it here.

  13. Love this story hearing it for the 2nd time is just as lovely. What an impact for both of you. What a memory for both of you. Just a fabulous once in a lifetime experience. Thank you again for sharing. You are the best, Laurie!

  14. Laurie, thank you for bringing this beautiful memory to let us us share in this wonderful encounter. So often it isn’t the big events of Life that can cause a shift in our paradigm, but only a tiny little incident can move the World as we know it. A small blessing has been multiplied over and over and given to countless people in the retelling of this story. Thanks again.

  15. I am sitting here in tears as I read your story….tears with gratitude, tears with feelings of love, tears with hope….I love that this wise women blessed you, touched you, spoke to you in another language of Spanish yet translated into bursting love. This day was in fact a day when you looked into the eyes of God. Many people have never experienced nor ever will experience this blessing. I remember this day very clearly….and for you to recapture it with words is such an incredible talent…..You are an amazing author and I thank you for sharing your personal stories….stories from your heart. I love you my friend!

  16. Dear Laurie, Thanks for the post. As someone said to me long before, if one day there comes one tells you that she saw the face of god, you will be a little bit close to heaven.
    So blessful!

  17. She probably lived a simple honest life andthat energy was transmitted to you like Reiki.That was heart-felt and hand felt love between two wise women from entirely different backgrounds-Cheers!

  18. “And while many others who visibly fared much better asked for handouts, this elderly woman looked neither left nor right, but remained focused on the task at hand — to make it into the cathedral.”

    A vivid and unadulterated profile of faith in it’s purest form. Your descriptive prowess in framing this older woman’s simple reverence further enhances your acute observations of this memorable trip that surely will stay for you for the rest of your life Laurie. Lucille and I do often “look into each other’s heart,” especially during the holiday season. It’s unquestionably the most meaningful aspect of a relationship.

  19. What a powerful story! I especially love the line about her “silent sermon.” I had to stop reading and think about that for a few moments – very powerful language. I’m so glad you were blessed by this encounter and could share the story with us. Thank you!

  20. I have no immediate answer to your question Laurie. I am simply thankful that you shared your story. And your photograph is one of my personal favourites. May we all be blessed to see the face of our God in the face of another. Warm hugs, as always Terrill 🙂

  21. Hi Laurie,

    I love moments like that.

    I can’t do the god interpretation thing, the whole notion of god just does nothing whatever for me.
    And I am consciously aware that our consciousness is just the time tip of a vast system of systems, that exist below the level of conscious awareness, and are so vast that they will be forever beyond conscious understanding in detail (though we may consciously understand the general principles involved in their operation, we have no chance of ever dealing with the detail).

    Thus I can look at another person, even one who most people would write off as ignorant and unimportant, and be profoundly moved by the complexity involved in who they are, and by the humanity that they exhibit.

    It is the idea that most people associate with “god” of the universe being purposeful, that our lives have some sort of meaning and purpose other than what we give them, that is the point that I choke at. To me, that seems to be a tool for control of people, and not a mechanism of empowering individuals to explore their own infinite potential in ways that work for them and everyone else (by whatever means they see fit).

    So for me – it is a huge YES! to the humanity in every one of us, every old woman, every street beggar, every child – and I don’t see the idea of god doing much to help those individuals develop.

    So I love the moment you describe, I love the love it embodies, the caring, the empathy, the connection beyond self, the connection to shared life as life itself; just not the god story.

  22. Such a beautiful post. “Make time to sit with God.” That struck me as well as the woman’s reaction. Sometimes I wonder if because I see someone who is different or homeless, that maybe I’m the one learning the lesson because of their soulful presence.

  23. I love your pages and your form of self-expression, it is a pleasure to have you share your gifts through your pages Thank you. I have nominated you for blog of the Year please visit my page Blog of the year awards and nominations Thank you! Revised
    Posted on December 9, 2012

  24. Pingback: Wagner and Me, The Central Park Five, Hitler’s Children, Edward Scissorhands and huge honor for David Schleicher on Monday Morning Diary (December 10) « Wonders in the Dark

  25. I am at a loss for words after reading this post, Laurie. I’m trying to stave off the tears, but this post was so profound on so many levels. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Pingback: Connecticut Tragedy, The Hobbit, Hyde Park on the Hudson, Dickens December and John Garfield Petition on Monday Morning Diary (December 17) « Wonders in the Dark

  27. as you saw the face of God
    your words painted the face of God as I read your tender words….
    Beautiful….what a gift on this Christmas morning…
    Take Care….

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