I have a great hair-cut-lady. I should likely call her a beautician because she works in a hair cut place. I won’t call it a barber shop; it’s likely not a salon. I’m not fancy enough to go to something like that. I’m happy with my little chain hair cut location. I go in. I get my hair cut. I leave looking better than when I first arrived. Except for the time the lady cut my hair in the shape of a mullet. That wasn’t good. Fortunately, after spending an hour washing out all the chemicals she used to style my hair (after I told her strictly that I don’t use styling chemicals in my hair), I asked my husband to cut off the mullet half of my hair.
He did a great job given that he was rather inebriated and almost cut my neck and was, at one point, cutting at a slant. I received tons of compliments after that haircut (part two).
I have been going to the same lady for over a year, a wonderful woman who truly brightens my day and does everything she can to make a clumsy tomboy feel like a pretty woman, which really isn’t easy. Trust me. I know.
The sense of discouragement has been hitting hard recently. I have finally broken through the eggshell that was separating me from my sophomores, have finally made the connections that I was needing to make. Finally, I felt like I wasn’t just a teacher but more like a mentor, a person who was able to reach out and do something other than communicate information about literary techniques, literary theory, writing styles, and vocabulary.
But, this morning, I pulled myself out of a beautiful ten-hour long slumber, drank a cup of coffee, caught up on silly television, and the had an argument with my husband. Discouragement.
In the hour or so before the appointment, I thought about cancelling, postponing. I just wanted to sit on my front porch swing and absorb the early summer heat. I wanted to stop worrying about grades and names at graduation. I wanted to pull myself back into my shell and hide. Because hiding was good. In hiding, I couldn’t find the emotions that could be touched.
I frustrate myself with my own emotional intensity. I don’t want to feel this much because, frequently, it leads to people thinking that I’m fragile and can’t be told the honest truth. It leads people to seeing me as a bit weak and requiring of tons of nurturing. And maybe I do (likely, I do). And that frustrates me too. I don’t want to be co-dependent and wear out people with neediness. I want to be solid. I want to be a rock, not just a shaley-pebble.
But I forced myself out of the house and took my children because today is the Girl’s twelfth birthday and part of her present is to have the bangs on the right side of her head re-dyed. She chose bright blue/teal. And I couldn’t let her down. I couldn’t allow my exhausted emotional reservoir to defeat me.
The Girl was taken back and Beverly, my favorite stylist (the topic of this post) started working on the Girl. Another stylist took the Boy, cut his hair, brought back a handsome young man. I drove him home, asked him to cut the lawn, and drove back, once more feeling the dead-weight of exhaustion.
Once back at the hair cut place, I played stupid computer games and did my best not to be overly grumpy, especially given a grandmother sat on the corner of a couch and told her young grandson to put away the toys (his response: “Never.”) and not to disturb his mother which he promptly ignored. I remember this specific family….the boy had once pulled out all the toys and the grandmother had stepped on one of the toys and fallen, bruising her hand and wrist. She immediately fussed at the child whom she had told to put away the toys and he, like today, had deliberately ignored her and refused to comply.
And then, the Girl was at a good point in her hair-dying job during which Beverly came and invited me to come back for my haircut.
Beverly is amazing. She is a woman of unabashed courage, a woman who loves the world and loves life and wants to live life as passionately as possible. Despite her husband’s recent ailments, she refuses to give up faith and claims his healing in the name of Jesus. I have to admit, writing this feels awkward because I have heard many fake people say something similar and I don’t want to make Beverly or her faith trite or superficial. Because she isn’t.
She is real. Absolute and real in terms of her faith and I am humbled by her boldness.
As I sat in the chair, we started chatting, as normal. She tilted my head forward and asked me questions. And, without thought or hesitation, I just started talking. I confessed to my exhaustion, to my frustration, to my discouragement. I confessed that I don’t feel like a good Christian. I confessed that I felt like I had recently failed my kids, had failed my desire to raise my children as Christians. I talked about the real faith of some of my students and their unwavering, uncompromising strengths in their beliefs.
And then Beverly started preaching. I had my eyes closed, holding in emotions that were too strong and much more powerful than what normal people feel. And Beverly comforted me, told me that she has always seen my faith. She talked about….well…so much. And I humbled by her kindness and compassion. I want to narrate the conversation. I really do. But I am also, well….I don’t know.
But I know that I will treasure those words for the rest of my life. I thought about cancelling/postponing and didn’t because…well….God? And Beverly, it turns out, had been thinking about cancelling/postponing and didn’t because….God.
She told me that she could tell that the Boy has been called to do something great. This is the fourth? Fifth person to tell me something like this since my son was born. And after this terrible and difficult and painful year that we have both experienced, it is a relief and a blessing to hear that God hasn’t given up on my son.
As Beverly trimmed my hair, cut away the weight, she counseled me, talked to me, was a friend to me. As Beverly relieved the weight of my sadness, I heard the strength of a real faith, which was amazing because things Beverly was saying echoed from the verses of the chapter of Luke I had read last night.
I am not a great Christian. I am a fabulous sinner.
But I am not forgotten, which I never really thought I was. Regardless, today, I didn’t make it to church because I was helping the Boy scout out projects for his Eagle Scout project. But I was ministered to by a fabulous woman, a powerful preacher with a sharp pair of scissors and the ability to lift a worn out tomboy into an elated woman.