Luke's long blond locks are gone!
He opens his eyes, smiles at me, then sees my shocked expression. His hands fly to his head. Then he gives me a mirrored look of horror.
OK, then we laugh.
Though Luke and I have known each other since before our teen years, during our entire friendship/courtship/romance/marriage his hair has only been long. He goes for haircuts occasionally, but his hair had recently gotten well past his shoulders. The heat of summer is coming and he decided it was time to take off a few inches. We figured it would still be long enough to put in a ponytail, but then Luke asked, "Hey, what's the length it has to be to donate?" Before I knew it, we were driving to the hair salon.
I could have stayed home, but I needed to chaperone the cutting. It wasn't that I worried- much- about the outcome but more that I needed to keep an eye on the woman doing the cutting. Too often Luke comes back with tales of a large-bosomed woman pressing into his neck as she styles and chats away. This time seemed to go well, but once the ponytail was removed from Luke's head, the woman couldn't stop talking about and touching the hair. She took it over to another stylist. "Check this out! Feel this hair!" she cooed. "This is softer and nicer than most women's hair!' Yeah, Luke said he hears that a lot too. Oh my!
Then I looked at my husband's head. So little hair left! The only chance for ponytails was if he did a bunch of tiny ones all over the top. And the snipping continued. We had both talked about him growing it out again, which is what he explained to the stylist, but I realized that it wasn't going to happen overnight. Luke's hair in a plastic bag, we soon left for home. I kept staring over at him, reaching up and touching his fuzzy head. I couldn't believe how different he looked. He couldn't believe it either.
The story of the hair, ghost written by Annie Hindman:
The last time I had short hair was in 2005. It had always been short, from way back to the days of sitting at Grandma Betty's kitchen table in that old highchair, "two or three on the sides and a little longer on top." Then, during early adulthood, certain events occurred and I didn't feel like doing much of anything, especially when it came to cutting my hair. Friends and family members started giving me a hard time about getting my hair cut, so, of course, I just didn't.
As my hair grew, something began to change for me. One time on a Horizon airline flight to Portland, the stewardess said I looked just like one of the members of some rock band that had flown the day earlier. Then complete strangers would come up to me and comment. My hair had become a conversation starter. For an extreme introvert who was recovering from a pretty rough patch in my life, this was a completely new experience. As my hair grew, I became far more approachable. I learned how to flirt again and carry on conversations. Much like Samson's hair gave him strength, mine gradually helped me comfortably interact with people again.
And then of course, there was the time at Walmart when I was stooped over looking for something on a lower shelf and the 5'4" salesman touched me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, ma'am." The look of horror on his face when a 6'1" man with a full beard stood up to look down at him was priceless.
I discovered that people make lots of assumptions about a man with long hair. A man has to be secure in his own identity to wear his hair that way. I imagine that there are thousands of men out there who are too insecure in who they are as a person and as a man to risk standing out. For me, it was a perfect fit because I was going through the process of learning just exactly who I was. I learned to not be afraid and to not draw my identity from what other people thought of me. I learned that Jesus died for me so that I could be adopted into His family. That is true love. How could the opinions of others begin to compare with that?
Annie and I have some dear friends who are struggling with cancer, one as an active participant, the other in a support role. They have completed their 4th round of chemo. Hearing about their journey, as well as the journeys of several other friends and family members who have struggled with cancer, got me to thinking about a lot of things. Among them are purpose, family (we're having a baby soon!), and identity. And I thought about my hair. I could cut three or four inches off and throw it in the trash... or... I could cut off the last 8 years and give someone's daughter (or someone's son) a new identity. :)
My hair's journey soon complete, I not only get to start another path of my own but the baby won't be able to pull my hair!