beth woolsey

mess maker • magic finder • rule breaker • kindness monger

On Being Faceful

He said it several times throughout the meeting, the Asian gentlemen with the thick accent. He was earnest and sincere every time.

“It’s about being faceful,” he said. “We must be faceful to do the work we are given.”

I don’t think it’s just because words and writing are my air and water that I latch so tightly to special turns of phrase. I suspect, instead, it’s because I’m human that I recognize that sometimes certain words are oxygen. I breathe them in and they transfer to my blood and pump through my body to power my heart and my mind.

“It’s about being faceful,” he said. He meant faithful, of course. He meant that we must be faithful and diligent and steadfast and obedient to our purpose. But what the gentleman said was, “It’s about being faceful. We must be faceful to do the work we are given.”

And the idea of being faceful hasn’t stopped coursing through my blood. Heart to brain. Brain to heart.

Because being faceful, to me, is less do and more be.

Being faceful is like standing in the sun on a perfect spring day. And closing my eyes. And tilting my head up. And moving by feel until the sun shines full in my face.

Or this: Being faceful is about closing my eyes. And tilting my head up. And moving by feel until life and love shine full in my face.

I’m beginning to suspect that being faceful is a truer and deeper and wider way of being faithful. I find myself feeling free to embrace both the me who is the faithful worker bee and the me who is the faceful worker be.

I say a prayer over each of my children every night. And then I use my thumb to lay a cross on their foreheads. The mark is only a symbol; there’s part of me that knows that. But there’s the other part, too; the part that puts into that brief brush of skin on skin my deepest hopes and longings and fears and love.

And I didn’t realize until this very moment that the prayer is what I meant to tell you all along. It just took writing this far to find my way.

The prayer, in essence, is this:

May Love bless you and keep you.
May Love’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May Love be faceful to you and give you peace.

When I pray for my children – when I mark my kids with a cross and with my kiss – it boils down to this: In birth and in death and in the rocky and gorgeous life that is between, I’m trusting Love to be faceful. I’m trusting Love to show up. I’m trusting Love to be the center. The purpose. The whole point.

And, of course, when I trust Love to be faceful to my children – for there’s no greater trust for me to give – I’m trusting Love to be faceful to me. And when I trust Love to be faceful to me, I can be faceful to the work I’m given.


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9 responses to “On Being Faceful”

  1. Oh, Beth. This is beautiful. As I read about your nightly ritual of crossing the foreheads of each of your children as they sleep, tears…ones that I didn’t even realize were brimming…spilled out of my eyes and kept coming as I continued to read. It surprised me, for I do the exact same thing each night; a kiss, a cross, and a prayer….willing the love to be there for them. You have written this perfectly, and wisely…and your heart (and love) shine through every word. Your kiddos are truly blessed with an amazing mama…as are we in your sharing. Thank you.

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