L E T T E R from Jac – In The Presence Of A God – The Broad Place
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L E T T E R from Jac – In The Presence Of A God

This is a story I read at our last Integrated Meditation meeting that completely chokes me up, by Dr Richard Selzer, may I recommend you read it slowly.

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. As a surgeon, I 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 who gaze and touch each other so generously?” 
The woman speaks: “Will my mouth always be like this?” she asks.
Yes,” I say. “It is because the nerve was cut.
She nods, in silent. But the young man smiles. “
I like it,” he says. “It’s kind of cute.
All at once I know who he is. I understand, I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a God. Unmindful of my presence, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth, and I’m so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate hers, to show her that her kiss still works.
I remember that the Gods appeared in ancient Greece as mortals, and I hold my breath and let the wonder in.


This meeting was a special one, my first night back after my 10 days of silence and meditation. A huge storm was thundering and throwing down rain and lightning. I had a series of things I wanted to read, and had everyone close their eyes to listen, as I knew I would cry, and knew they might too, and wanted us to sit together, without reserve. Then without opening their eyes, we all dropped into meditation. By the time the meditation was complete, the storm had cleared and a bird was cheeping in a tree outside. It was one of those wonderful moments. I have loaded the recording of this talk into our Private Facebook Group for our meditators. This was my favourite of the lot. I first read it in the library at the hermitage, and quietly wept in the library as the rain fell hard outside, alone in the lamplight.

Written with love,

Jac x

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