a hand full of hair and a heart full of lessons

December 01, 2011

I sit.  Hands in lap, chin up, heart churning. My hair, wet and combed, is held at the nape of my neck by a band securely holding the 12 inches of length grown out over the last several years.  These inches were with me when I cradled my son Sawyer for the last time.  They graced my neck as we anticipated Quinten’s arival

and as I admired him up close.

Two years later as I repeated the same loving gaze upon Tanner, those inches remained.

Now as I sit, hands folded, I prepared my heart to let go.  Within moments, scissors severed the length and years of patient growth are placed in my hands.  My heart squeezes in two directions at once: joy and sadness.

Sacrifice: Wikipedia says the term can be used metaphorically “to describe selfless good deeds for others or a short term loss in return for a greater gain.”

Over the last few weeks, I have been pondering the concept of giving in anticipation of Christmas.  Desiring to help lead by example in the area of generosity and holding loosely to “things”, I was reminded of a goal that I made some time ago.  My heart was prompted to action to donate my hair so that someone else could enjoy it as I have.

After my visit to the scissors, I was surprised at my heart’s reaction.  While I made the decision whole heartedly, I found that a period of “grieving” followed.  I didn’t anticipate it and felt ashamed at my flesh for clinging to something as temporal as hair.  Yet I couldn’t pretend it away, so I chose to flesh it out.  Wrestling gifts vs. sacrifices and selfless choices vs. obligatory actions became my thought pattern for a time.  I wanted to know why I could joyfully give without sadness in other areas, but not here.  I wanted to know if I was being vein or shallow.  I wanted to know how I could be bothered by short hair when others don’t have any at all. . .

As I pondered and prayed, I was reminded of a baby born 2,000 years ago, given by the creator of the heavens to His creation.  This gift, while given freely and wholeheartedly, was not without pain or sacrifice.  What started in a manger, found it’s way to a cross.  The gift became the sacrifice.  And while God’s plan was carried out for our eternal benefit, it required an unfathomable act of selfless love by the Son.

In this I was comforted. Gifts are not always easy and sadness does not necessarily reflect remorse.  The greater good may come at a cost.

Time has eased me into my new look and my heart has benefited from the process of reflection. Holding loosely to our possessions while clinging to God’s promises is my focus this month. I desire to find ways to practically work this out with our family and I invite you to join with us.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5:1-2

Note: I am donating my hair to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program and my beautiful daughter has a donation of her own to offer as well. . .

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