“I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve. Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily?
The young woman speaks. ‘Will my mouth always be like this?’ she asks.
‘Yes,’ I say, ‘It will because the nerve was cut.’ She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. ‘I like it,’ he says, ‘Kind of cute.’ All at once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze… Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show that their kiss still works.”
The story strikes home because it speaks of love – unconditional; the kind of love that the world desperately needs – but doesn’t always understand. It is this kind of love that promises never to give up on us – no matter what. That’s the kind of love, the kind of commitment that God has promised us.
The Prophet Isaiah wrote: Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. (49:15)
Jesus said, “Remember I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Let us pray: We thank you, Loving God, that you have promised never to give up on us, never to forsake us or leave us. We are ever grateful that we don’t have to earn your love, and that there is nothing in life or death that can separate us from you.
We pray today for those who find themselves in really difficult situations – people who need to know you are with them. Especially we lift up police officers, fire fighters, and military personnel. We ask that you would surround each of us with your grace. May we know your merciful presence – right here and right now – through Jesus Christ. Amen.