Bad Haircut Grace and America the Beautiful

“Your hair! Your beautiful hair! Oh Jo, how could you?  Your one beauty.”

-Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

A quote from a novel has never struck a chord with me as much as this one.

Growing up, my hair was my one beauty.  While little boys would bully me on account of my size and ugly, boyish features, hair salonists would praise the beauty in my hair and marvel at how “grownup” it seemed.

Strangers often stare at me in the bathroom mirror and tell me how gorgeous my locks are.  It’s not uncommon for friends and relatives to often tell me how jealous they are of my head of hair.

The time and money I spend on my hair is what some probably spend on average on their pet.  I’ll be completely transparent and admit that this time last year, while my face was broken out with acne induced from severe graduate thesis stress, I would often think to myself, “Well, at least I still have my hair to rely on…”

So today, when I went to get my hair cut by a new salonist (my former hairdresser left to go to another salon), you can imagine there was some apprehension.

“Paige”, as we will call her, wanted to be sure I knew what had been done incorrectly to my hair prior to her hands getting a hold of it.  Paige was quick to justify every strange move she made with her scissors, making cuts I had never seen done on a head of hair, let alone my own.  She was unapologetic in her moves and I couldn’t bring myself to speak up and challenge her, what with how she went on and on about how she would fix everything that had been done wrong previously.

Fear swept over me as I realized what was happening.  This new hairdresser was doing serious damage on my locks!  Suddenly it became all too real that I would no longer be able to fix my hair as I used to.  What was once free for me to do with my hair was now taken from me.  I would no longer be Valerie known for that beautiful, free-flowing head of hair.  I would no longer be considered beautiful.

With her strange methods and the shear amount she cut off, I wasn’t even sure it would be able to grow out the same way again.  The added layers to my long hair had me anticipating to see Joe Dirt in the mirror looking back at me.  It was all I could do not to break down in her chair in front of her.

Hours later I found myself in my apartment, crying into my brother’s shoulder as he stroked my back and assured me I looked okay, that I was still beautiful.  My parents reminded me to focus on other things, to pray for the Lord to help me work through this, knowing how much my hair has always meant to me.

But, to tell you the truth, I couldn’t for the life of me see any amount of good or hope in this rather bleak situation.  All I could do was continue to run my fingers through my hair and feel where hair once was, where life and beauty and hope once was

I promised myself I would not make one political “post” this election season.  And so, I will keep that promise to myself… Certainly a bad haircut cannot and should not be compared to the implications of a nation’s election.

However, I will go out on a wild hair (BA-DUM-CH) and say that America the Beautiful could possibly use some Bad Haircut Grace, the kind of grace that soothes tears and reminds us that with time will come the opportunity for growth, the opportunity to learn from mistakes made, the opportunity to realize that raising your voice respectfully despite felt fear is necessary and can make a real difference.

Bad Haircut Grace is the kind of grace that may not even look like it’s needed from some perspectives because some would say everything now looks great again, if not better, than it did before.

Bad Haircut Grace is the kind of grace that makes you say the words, “I will be thankful for what I have because I know others go on with far less.”  Bad Haircut Grace reminds you that you should consider yourself blessed based on the deeper things that matter.

Bad Haircut Grace is the kind of grace that is humbling in the moment because you must face the one who is responsible for how things turned out with kindness and respect despite knowing what you looked like before.

Bad Haircut Grace is the kind of grace that is hard to swallow for a while, but makes you learn to love other things about yourself more and better.

Jeremiah 31:2-3 Thus says the LORD: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

This verse reminded me that while I may feel pretty hopeless (and pretty petty too), I did in fact survive “the sword” and I can still find grace in the time being.  Rather, it is the Lord who will provide me with the extra grace I need for as long as I need it.

Some folks will say statements like, “God has left America because of its wickedness,” while others will say “America was never and should never be considered a Christian nation.”  Without dissecting these statements further, the one thing I know to be true is that the Lord loves Americans, both male and female and everything in between, both domestic and foreign born, both heterosexual and homosexual, both pro-life and pro-choice, both democrat and republican, with an everlasting love.  And He will continue to be faithful to those who claim Him in His name.

(BTW, I’ve already googled how to make hair grow faster.  I’m chocking this up to 2016 being a bad year in many ways all around.)

(And just FYI, if you find yourself buying any cute head bands and hats for your girl to wear for the time being, I certainly won’t reject them.) ❤


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