rare find

Rarely do I come across a book that makes me want to start back at the beginning and read it all again, just for the pleasure of reaching the end once more. I admit I shed tears, awed at the voice the author plucked from my thoughts and wove into the story line. I have finished the book, but the words are still ringing in my head.

Look now. Look now at what you value, what you hold dear. Objects first. And not necessarily because of their innate value, (although you might figure into it), but because they are endowed - by your mind and imagination, by your memories - with what is known as "sentimental value."

Sentiment has been defined as ascribing to a value to something above and beyond what is value to God. This presumes a belief in God that passes judgment on the inexplicable fondness of the human heart; there is an expression, isn't there: "the object of my affections." But perhaps you do not believe in that kind of God, or any other, for that matter.

Look then at the faces and bodies of people you love. The explicit beauty that comes not from the smoothness of skin or neutrality of expression, but from the web of experience that has left its mark. Each face, each body its own living fossilized record. A record of cats, combatants, difficult births; of accidents, cruelties, blessings. Reminders of folly, greed, indiscretion, impatience. A moment in time, of memory, preserved, internalized, and enshrined within and upon the body. You need not be told these records are what render your beloved beautiful. If God exists, He is there, in the small, cast-off pieces, rough and random and no two alike.

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