The Surprises You Find in Books #2

As mentioned before, I’m starting on a series of biweekly posts on my serendipitous discoveries (e.g. poems, songs, movies) I found from reading.

This week, I have a poem from Amy Harmon’s book Making Faces (more about the book at the bottom of the post):

If God Makes All Our Faces

If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
Does he make the legs that cannot walk and the eyes that cannot see?
Does he curl the hair upon my head ’til it rebels in wild defiance?
Does he close the ears of the deaf man to make him more reliant?
Is the way I look a coincidence or just a twist of fate?
If he made me this way, is it okay, to blame him for the things I hate?
For the flaws that seem to worsen every time I see a mirror,
For the ugliness I see in me, the loathing and the fear,
Does he sculpt us for his pleasure, for a reason I can’t see?
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?

Amy Harmon

This is an exceptionally woeful poem from a self-conscious girl who finds herself flawed and inferior to others. I love this poem not because of the meaning behind it (for it is a very sad poem), but because of its poignancy and how clearly it conveys the bitterness and distress that the writer is feeling.

We all have that part of ourselves we sometimes loathe and want gone (or at the least, hidden)… but, well, here’s a quote from the same book that I think is important to keep in mind whenever we are reminded of that “ugly” part of us:

True beauty, the kind that doesn’t fade or wash off, takes time. It takes pressure. It takes incredible endurance. It is the slow drip that makes the stalactite, the shaking of the Earth that creates mountains, the constant pounding of the waves that breaks up the rocks and smooths the rough edges.

And from the violence, the furor, the raging of the winds, the roaring of the waters, something better emerges, something that would otherwise never exist.

And so we endure. We have faith that there is purpose. We hope for the things we can’t see. We believe that there are lessons in loss, power in love, and that we have within us the potential for a beauty so magnificent that our bodies can’t contain it.


More about the book:

Making Faces

It’s been a while since I read Making Faces so I honestly can’t say much, except that this is a powerful and insightful book that has taught me a lot about beauty, love, loss, and self-acceptance.

Although this book was not my favourite of Harmon’s, I still highly recommend it. Harmon’s writing here is, as always, poignant and bittersweet, and I don’t think you can ever find another book similar to this.


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