One of the videos I show to moms preparing for their babies is “Eye Contact Means Love.” Though an infant cannot understand or form speech, eyes speak a language without words. Mom walks into the room, baby swivels her head and focuses on her mother’s face and specifically seeks her eyes. Connecting through eye-contact bonds mother and baby.
Does eye contact mean love? This bold yet intimate gesture states, “You’ve got my full attention.” When someone looks me square in the face, I feel larger. I feel important and a little nervous. I feel worthwhile. When people look at the floor or over my shoulder behind me, however, it seems they’re not listening to me at all and so, not interested in me. Those times, I feel small and wish I were smaller yet. I wish to evaporate, though ironically, if people don’t look me in the eye, I feel invisible already.
When people are angry, when they’re fired up and stomping one way and turn on a foot to come at an argument with another point, they don’t look their adversary in the eye, or if they do, only briefly with narrowed, unseeing eyes. They walk right past and make it a point to focus their eyes straight ahead, or to the side, anywhere but on your face, where they may actually behold you and see things through your eyes. As William Shakespeare wrote, “the eyes are a window to the soul.”
Some people stare with an intensity to threaten or with a leer to intimidate. They wield their eyes as weapons. Other times, we squint in a smile or widen our eyes in happy surprise. In whatever way we choose to use our eyes, they are powerful organs for destroying or blessing.
At our church, the pastor concludes the service with a blessing.
May the LORD bless and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
In blessing us, we ask the LORD to shine His face and His countenance upon us. We ask Him to look at us, and in the Hebrew, to look is not only to observe but to act.
When the pastor raises His hands to speak the blessing, we turn our palms up in an act of receiving. I picture the face of each of my beloveds, one by one, and pray for the blessing to drape over each one. Lastly, I try to see my own face, and a strange block occurs during this personal ritual. I cannot bring up my image. I see a nose or a chin, but I cannot visualize my eyes. Is this because I do not resemble the person I am or want to be? A shock of fear darts through me each Sunday when this happens. Am I superstitious to think God’s blessing cannot rest upon me, because I cannot envision my face? His love convinces me that my fear is unfounded. I don’t need to see my eyes, I need to look into God’s eyes, knowing He already sees mine. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Nothing can bar His blessing.
Does eye contact mean love? I vote, “Aye.” The eyes have it.