Found My Face
few weeks ago a friend's father died. When I went to his funeral
I found myself being seated on the front row. It was at a church
and all the family was on the right-hand side of the church and
the attendees were on the left side. I was on the front pew on
the left side.
the service my friend got up to say a few words about her father.
I knew she would be eloquent and sincere, but I also knew it would
be hard on her, as she and her father were very close. Anyway
when Deborah, my friend, got up to speak, she started out by saying
she wanted to speak on behalf of her brother and sisters. She
added she did not know she would feel so emotional doing it.
then segued into a story about Ed Bradley, the "60 Minutes"
host who died recently. It seems Ed Bradley was asked one time
to speak at a friend's funeral. He knew he was going to get emotional
doing it so he asked another friend for some advice as to how
to keep his composure. The friend told Ed that as soon as he got
up to speak he should find the face of someone who would be supportive
said he found the face when he was speaking and when he got emotional
he looked at him, and "the face" in turn looked up at
the ceiling. Then he found another face and he looked at him and
that person looked out the window.
this point Deborah said, "So don't move, Jackie Cooper. I
have found my face."
from that point on I was afraid to even twitch. I just wanted
to stare straight at her and give her the support she needed.
And something worked because she maintained her composure and
gave a beautiful tribute to her father.
I thought about how honored I felt she had picked my face. It
might have just been that I was sitting on the front row, but
for whatever reason she did "find my face."
I thought back on all the times I have just wanted to find the
right face to give me encouragement. When I was little it was
usually my mother's face I sought out when I was performing in
one way or another. I would look out in the audience and there
she would be mouthing the words to a song I was singing, or nodding
her head in time to the music I was playing.
when my brother and I were visiting my aunt and uncle who lived
in Charlotte, North Carolina, I got lost downtown. I was searching
for my brother's face and when I saw it I thought it was the most
wonderful face I had ever seen.
one time or another we all need to "find the face" of
the person who can get us through a bad time, or can give us encouragement
in an uphill battle. Then there are the times when we need to
"find the face" to share a really happy moment in our
faces can show our emotions and that is a good thing. With a smile
or a nod of our head we can be the encourager or whatever else
we need to be. So keep a smile on your lips because you never
know who is "finding" your face.
K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia.
He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as
the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews
run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short
stories have been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.
He also keeps active appearing as an after dinner speaker for
has lived an exceptionally interesting life and portions of it
are contained in his first book Journey of a Gentle Southern
Man. The journey continued in Chances and Choices.
first two books, Journey of a Gentle Southern Man
and Chances and Choices, were reprinted and published
by Mercer University Press in July 2004. His third book Halfway
Home was published by Mercer University Press in October
fourth book, released in 2006, is The Bookbinder.
his website, or email
Jackie K. Cooper