power in words and pictures

The Faces in my Treasure Chest

The Faces in my Treasure Chest

“Our faces will become works of art that our grandchildren will treasure.”
― Adriana Trigiani, Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers

My grandmother’s face is still visible to me when I close my eyes. Her skin was soft and filled with beautiful gentle wrinkles. My grandma’s face wasn’t as soft, but her face wore so much love in the weathered crevices. Both faces were treasures to me then and more so now that I only have memories. It seems that the cosmetic industry does a good bit of business focusing on faces, too. Nips and tucks to smooth the edges and keep a face looking younger than its years is a popular choice. When I think of the beautiful faces I’ve loved, though, I think how different they might have looked with plastic surgery, and I am so glad to have known the wrinkles as I did. I don’t have grandchildren yet, but I find much hope in Trigiani’s statement — my face will one day become a treasured work of art.

Photographs of family members no longer living are some of my favorite things to unearth when going through boxes. Old family videos would be my next favorite find. Long before cell phones and SnapChat, we had camcorders, and my parents had a large one that my daddy loved using. The only thing better than seeing someone’s face is hearing their voice, and as I was moving the videos from tapes to DVDs not so long ago, I enjoyed many moments of voices. My greatest regret, though,  is that I didn’t take the camcorder from Daddy and put him in front of it for a few minutes, instead of allowing him to stay behind it.  His voice brings such warmth to my heart…he had such a warm, matter-of-fact way of speaking, but I wish I could see his face.

The voices in society today are often of people tearing others down, treasuring no one but themselves, so it seems especially meaningful to me to think on my treasures. Maybe you need to do that, too. For a minute, turn off the voices outside of you and think about the faces you have treasured. My mother has painted a portrait of each person in our family, and I can remember as she was painting she would mention how she felt as if the person had been with her all those weeks. Faces are to be treasured.

What faces have you treasured?

  • Maybe it was the face of your neighbor who welcomed you to their kitchen table to give you refuge as a young child or to offer advice as a newlywed.
  • Maybe it’s the face of the dog that licked your tears when you were sad or stared at you as he awaited his next treat.
  • Maybe your treasure is the face of the server at the restaurant who chipped in a few dollars of her own when you realized your meal was more than you planned instead of shaming you in front of your friends.
  • Maybe it’s the face of your grandfather as he told you what a good fisherman (or fishergirl) you were as you proudly watched the little fish swing from your line.
  • Maybe it’s the face of your child or niece or nephew or grandchild looking lovingly into your eyes as you snuck them a cookie before dinner.
  • Maybe it’s the face of someone you have loved so deeply and completely that the mere memory serves to strengthen you on lonelier days.

Our treasures are sitting right there within our amazing brain — in the hippocampus if I’ve studied the brain correctly. When you bring a new treasured item into your home, you often have to remove some other treasure to make room for it. In our minds, though, we have unlimited space for collecting treasures, and I want to hold on to as many as I can to bring me joy on days the world is feeling out of control or people are particularly unkind. Someday, maybe my face will be a work of art treasured by another generation.

 

%d bloggers like this: