Creating Locks of Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a blog about hair, something “hair” today and gone tomorrow. Even though the text refers to the female gender, hopefully there is something here for every reader. Hair is something we often take for granted. We are born with some and we’d like to keep our collection of strands all of our days. It grows rather painlessly. And silently reminds most of us every few weeks when a trim is needed. (I don’t know how your hair lets you know, but mine does by refusing to cooperate; becoming very unruly.) It grows and goes without our input. Most of the time it’s our decision what we choose to do with it. We shampoo it. We cut it. We curl it. We straighten it. We perm it. We shave it. Fashion, seasons, and boredom inspire us to make changes.
It so happened today was my regular appointment to be trimmed and tinted in my losing battle to turn back the waving hands of time. Do you know anyone who can relate? So I walk in intending to take a seat, relax while thumbing through mindless magazines, and wait my turn. But I stopped in my tracks just inside the door. Yes, I was in the right shop, but who was doing a customer’s crowning glory in place of my hairdresser? I approached slowly . . . glasses would have helped clarify more quickly, but why bother? I stepped closer still. The words were organizing themselves while working their way from the back of my brain forward to my lips. Did I have the wrong day or had my hairdresser been replaced? And then clarity. I was looking into the face of my hairdresser of twenty-something years . . . but she had no hair! Her thick bob had been shaved off, revealing a dark brown shadow where had once been beautiful auburn hair.
My befuddlement was not lost on either woman and they both smiled. Over the next few minutes as my hairdresser finished foiling her customer’s hair, she shared the story, which no doubt had been repeated over and over with other customers as surprised and curious as I.
You see, the hairdresser who works behind the first chair at the front of the salon is battling cancer
. She continues to work in and around her treatments, but the effects of those treatments has led to the loss of her crowning glory, lock by lock. She revealed little to her co-workers in the beginning, but it was obvious to everyone what had happened the day she wore a wig in for the first time. The presence of the wig seemed to stimulate dialogue, breaking down barriers and increasing understanding and deepening trust. They got it. They understood. She no longer felt isolated and alone among her co-workers.
What came next may have surprised her. All the ladies in the shop decided to forge their bond of solidarity in the fight against the cancer monster by shaving their hair off and embracing baldness together. They’d stand openly side by side as they worked . . . no wigs
allowed. And *Locks of Love
would benefit from their generosity. First the shared shaves and then the henna tattoes. Whoo, whoo! The cancer fight goes on. Hair will grow back. She and her comrades can resume choices for length, tint and shape. And may she live her life to the fullest all of her days.
I was struck by my ignorance at how hair has defined my recognition of a person. Yes, changing styles may bring on a double take, but total absence of hair created a new awareness. The hair, the glasses, the this, the that, may change our exterior, but when all hair was removed, I was forced to look beyond the exterior for recognition. I was forced to look deeper into the face of my hairdresser ~ to look deeply into her eyes which do not change. Eyes will always be an open window into the hearts of those we know.
Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. Matthew 6:22
*Locks of Love is an non-profit charity based in the United States
who accepts donations of human hair
with the stated intention of making wigs for needy Canadian
and American children with medical conditions that have caused them to lose their hair.