Behind the Veil


We were newly in love, which probably made this possible.

I was listening to him talk, in the way that people in love do listen—hanging on every word, finding him amazingly intelligent, insightful, funny. I was probably, at that moment, thinking the best of him that I would ever think, not because he would surprise me and turn out to be a mistake—he wouldn’t—but just because he hadn’t had time yet to annoy or disappoint me. Nothing about him had shaken my delight in him.

I was viewing him as nearly perfect, in other words.

And then, in a miraculous instant, I saw his perfection. . .

“Ruggedly attractive” is how men like him are often described, like a cowboy who has ridden hard over rough miles. His facial features were just off to the side of being handsome—almost there, but not quite. He’d had acne as a boy, and the scars showed. He’d had a hard childhood, and that showed, too, in his wary eyes and his sensitivity to other people’s pain.

On this night in question, he was in the middle of telling me something when I realized his face was changing.  

It changed, right in front of me.

I kept listening, but my mind was whirling.

What was happening?

As I watched in secret wonder, the acne scars vanished.

His skin smoothed out so that every flaw disappeared. His complexion, now perfect, changed from white to a delicate golden tan that glowed as if lighted from within him. Most startling, his facial features shifted slightly on his face, and he was suddenly beautiful. As he continued to speak, unaware of what I was witnessing, his eyes looked wide and trusting, full of kindness, innocence, and joy.

He looked like angels must surely look if they take on an appearance of form, although that wasn’t my first thought. What came to me at that moment was that he looked as he was meant to look, before his life, his choices, his hard path took its toll on him.

I knew it wasn’t my imagination.

I was actually seeing these changes on his face, and they looked as real to me as his acne scars had looked only moments earlier. I was pretty sure that his flesh wasn’t actually rearranging itself; rather, it was a spiritual vision that altered how he appeared to me.

I felt I was seeing the “real” him, the innocent, beloved, beautiful son of God that he is, and that we all are.

I didn’t say anything, for fear of interrupting this “impossible” process.

After a few moments, the vision faded, returning his physical face to my physical sight.

It was a gift and privilege to see him that way.

Even though I’ve never again “seen” like that, it strengthened my belief that “vision” exists. And it showed me the beauty and light behind the faces that we wear.

“The spiritual eye is the mechanism of miracles, because what the spiritual eye perceives is true.” (T-1.38.1:1)

“And think how beautiful will each of you look to the other! How happy you will be to be together, after such a long and lonely journey where you walked alone!” (T-22.IV.2:3-4)

“How beautiful the sight you saw beyond the veil. . .” (T-22.IV.2:7)