Around the time my son married his wonderful wife, I began to grow my hair. Jacob and Lisa got married on Holy Cross Day, 2008, in Portland, Oregon. The day before, Hurricane Ike hit Houston, and in the midst of family preparations for the joyful day, we watched tv for news of the devastation in our hometown.
After the wedding, I was on one of the first planes allowed back into Houston. The airport was eerily empty, and as I drove to my home, the streets were lined with downed trees and refuse from the storms.
When I arrived home, my yard was full of branches and assorted interesting items that had taken up residence in my desme. My fence had blown down, and I had no electricity; we would be without power for three weeks.
And my hair continued to grow. My hair grew through three bishop elections where others were chosen. Through the birth of two amazing grandsons. Two cookbooks published by my daughter. So many baptisms, deaths, weddings, and curates at St. Mary’s. Travels from McKinney, Texas to Jordan and Israel, Scotland, England, Iceland, and all over the United States.
Yesterday I cut my hair, now measuring past the middle of my back.
When I was on retreat two weeks ago, as I was praying for a dear member of our parish, I had the Spirit nudge me to cut my hair. Kelly, our keyboardist, has been healing from cancer for several months, and is now in the midst of chemotherapy. Kelly has beautiful red, curly hair, and is losing it as part of her treatment. I wanted to cut my hair as a sign of my love and prayers for her.
Kelly, in the midst of her own healing, has been a model of what it means to trust God, and to reframe the most difficult of situations into ones of joy. She, who is going through so very much, always has time to encourage and support others. I have been one of the many who have received her support, particularly post Tax Day Flood.
At my brother’s wedding in Dallas this past weekend, I told my niece about my plan to cut my hair this week. Dominique told me that she had heard that women cut their hair when they are ready to make a change in their lives.
I told this to Kelly on Sunday. Both of us a little weepy over our own hair changes, we could celebrate that they represented God’s continuing transformation in our lives in the midst of life situations neither of us would choose.
With many prayers for all who lose their hair because of healing, especially those through chemotherapy and illness, and especially for dear Kelly, my ponytail is ready to be mailed so that it can be used to make a hairpiece for someone else who is in the midst of God’s healing process.
I think I’m going to love my new hairdo.