Monday, May 27, 2013

Saving Face

Beside an empty Vancouver bus stop on Crossroads Canada's first official day of walking, I found a DVD of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Even though someone forgot it, the movie features the problems we face as humans when trying to remember. For those who have not seen or heard of the film, the plot centers around Joel (played by Jim Carrey), as he struggles to undo a procedure that erases his ex girlfriend, Clementine (played by Kate Winslet), from his mind by hiding her throughout his memories.

As we survey Joel's desperate scurry through memory after memory to safeguard the last remnants of Clementine, an interesting phenomenon reoccurs that reminds me of what we as walkers encounter on the road: The faces of the characters warp and disappear when a memory deletes from Joel's mind. Just as Joel could not hold onto a memory when the faces slipped from recognition, so not having a face to place on the abortion debate creates a challenge when proposing that people should care about the issue. While ultra sound technology gives us a window into the womb and an opportunity to view the unborn child in her secret secure habitat, these pixelated portraits can sometimes portray the child as something more alien than human. This challenge of placing a face on the issue could stem from the fact that the human brain has developed a specialized area for recognizing faces and extracting them. Interestingly enough, every human face you see when you dream is a face that you have seen before, although you might not have known the person.

Trekking through Canada, many people stop to simply ask us, “What is pro-life?” They do not understand the issue of abortion or the humanity of the unborn child. Therefore, our mission as walkers involves not only spreading awareness and education, but being a representation of the faceless unborn child. In becoming the face of the unborn child, we hope people may recognize the dignity and respect the unborn deserve as members of our human family.

Joel identifies Clemintine on the beach even when the memory erasing was deemed a success and falls in love with her once more. Much like how Joel instinctively draws himself to the beloved through her image, perhaps the reason why the human brain places so great an emphasis on the recognition of face foreshadows the experience of one reuniting face-to-face with God. Whatever the reason for such strong facial recognition, we are now called to search out His face that we have forgotten by remembering that each human being provides a glimpse of His expression of love for us, no matter what they look like.  

 - Corinne Kelley