The nose on the first one, the man furthest to the left, was very wide at the bottom and lay flattened against his face. The second man had a high forehead and a long, pointy nose that pointed to his pointy beard. The third man had a more bulbous nose and thick, well-formed lips. Completing the group was a man with a long face (in shape, not expression) and a long neck. He had pleading eyes and a large mouth.
“Those announcers would make great subjects for a caricature artist,” I said to my husband.
“Which?” he answered me with a half-interested question, his eyes glued to the game.
“That panel they just showed!” I shrugged, rolled my eyes, and walked away, wishing that he’d seen it, too.
At the commercial break he called to me.
“What were you saying?”
I repeated my observation, even describing what I’d seen in each face.
He shook his head, his mouth full of chips. He half-swallowed and commented, “You should do caricatures.”
I nodded, pleased at his comment. Sometimes he surprises me!
The game came back on and drew his attention again. I went about straightening the house while considering his suggestion. He had a good deal of belief in my abilities; that was very sweet. Maybe I’d look into it, but I knew that the human form and especially capturing the likeness of a face on paper had always been a challenge for me.
As a first-grader (that’s the first I remember trying to draw a person), I’d draw the typical round head/face. Eyes were at the top, of course, where they belonged, right at the top. Ears were on the sides and half-way up. I always drew the nose as a point in the middle and I knew nothing else for a mouth than a wide crescent drawn near the lower edge.
This face would be attached to a blob of a body with two pointed legs coming off the bottom. The points were feet. (How else could they be represented on a piece of paper?) Still something was missing. Oh, those arms! How do you attach those pesky, but necessary arms? I remember struggling with this. Though I could see people all around me, I spent no time studying God’s way of doing it. No, instead (and to my own dissatisfaction), the arms I drew stuck straight out from the neck and looked like a fringed scarf in a world with fifty percent less gravity than planet earth. Voila! There you had it, the beautiful human form!
There is something artful about the concepts and creations of a child, but along life’s way I’ve learned, thankfully, that the human form is not one-dimensional. It is beautifully and carefully sculpted by God.
Our faces aren’t always round and our features vary much from person to person. From parent to child we have likenesses intermingled with characteristics from other family lines. Our lifestyles and our living itself as well as our attitudes help to finely chisel the faces we wear.
Then there are our bodies. What a masterful creation we are! We stand upright, perfectly balanced, four, five, six, sometimes even seven feet off the ground. Our legs and feet are amazingly engineered for strength and balance. Our backs, not straight, have a beautiful curving grace about them. Our spines curve in at the neck, out at shoulder blade level, in at the waist and out again at the tail bone.
Those arms, so difficult for me to depict as a child, are attached to shoulders, sometimes square, sometimes rounded, shoulders which, by their carriage, show so much expression. Our hands, unique to each of us, can tell a history of our lives.
I won’t forget to mention the neck. Sometimes it is thick and muscular, sometimes long, slender and elegant, it efficiently holds the head aloft, not straight above the shoulders, but slightly forward.
Again, I must say, what a masterful creation!
While I continue to study God’s creation I encourage each of us to, as often and as much as possible, walk with shoulders back and heads held high. This not out of arrogance and not only if we happen to be in the spotlight as that panel of announcers I opened with, but because we are honored to have been created by the hand and in the image of God Himself.
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