So… As it turns out, I went to type my NINETEENTH Slice…and here sat my EIGHTEENTH. Apparently I forgot to hit publish last night! Oops! Well, here it is
“He smiled the most exquisite smile, veiled by memory, tinged by dreams.”
-Virginia Woolf –
To the Lighthouse
Several years ago in my British Literature class we were required to read To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I do not recommend it (not my favorite read). However, I’m a believer that there is always some morsel of good in anything if you look close enough. In the instance of this book it was the quote, “He smiled the most exquisite smile, veiled by memory,tinged by dreams.”
Every time I read it I picture a boy-man standing on the precipice of his unfolding life. His expression holds a smile, one we’ve seen before. Having already faced some kind of hardship, his eyes being opened to the failings of this world it is therefore no longer a pure smile beaming with childish ignorance. Yet still he smiles and it is all the more beautiful because of this, for he smiles despite his circumstance and in expectation of his dreams. It is this smile which reminds me of how exquisite human existence can be.
I think of the quote often when I’m out and about. I see such a smile arise on someones face who isn’t aware anyone is paying attention. I see the dad trying to be a good provider and woefully exhausted from the execution of it, smile as his child tugs at the knee of his pants wanting to be held in his fathers arms. I see the exasperated and stressed teacher trying desperately to keep up with everything, smile when a struggling student makes even the smallest breakthrough. I see the insecure woman scared from a lifetime of not meeting the worlds expectation of beauty, smile as a man she loves assures her she is captivating.
These exquisite smiles, “veiled by memory and tinged by dreams”, make the day-to-day worth while. Some days are harder than others. Sometimes the veil of memories grows thick and hard to see through and the dreams seem too distant to ever be reached. Yet, somehow the sun rises each morning and a new day is at our door step. We stand up and face it, never truly certain of where it will take us. Yet, we still walk toward its setting sun with the belief that we’re not alone in our journey, that God knows what he is doing.
The Human existence is a strangely wonderful thing. Our troubled lives make our smiles all that more exquisite. As someone once said,””Fine jewelers know that the best way to showcase all of the facets of their gems is to place them on a deep, black background. Artists know that to highlight the sun, you must use the shadows. Mountain climbers know that you cannot enjoy the vista if you don’t endure the brutality of the rock face on the way up.” Consider this, what could be more like Gods image than a race that still loves through the pain, reaches out through the distance and stands through the storm.