I finally got my hair cut today. I say “finally” because I really don’t get it cut as often as I should. It is incredibly thick and grows quickly, but I just don’t seem to make it to a salon very often. I think about it a lot but my split ends would tell you “more trimming, less thinking!” Perhaps. I don’t even have a regular stylist. I’ve been going to the same place for a few years now, but I usually see a different person each time. It has become a perpetuation cycle of neglect and shame – I let six months go by, then when I do book an appointment the stylist says, “When was the last time you had this cut??!” and I sheepishly tell her, “Um... I dunno.” ... then I am embarrassed to answer the question again in another six months so I put off making an appointment. Rinse and repeat.
But eventually I get myself to the chair. After the cursory comments about the remarkable thickness of my hair, we don’t seem to have much to talk about. There’s no more coiffure-related area to cover – no dyes or highlights or extensions. After a bit of chit chat about the weather, I’m pretty done with the small talk. Nope, not one for small talk. I guess I like to retreat into my head... What I should make for supper? How do you build a better mouse trap? Which book should I read next? What’s really going on in the Middle East? Sometimes I make mental lists. Sometimes I pray. I occasionally re-enter reality... at least I try to answer the stylist’s questions when she asks me something. Today I was distracted out of my musings a Miley Cyrus song on the radio, and the ear-piercing of a two-month old beside me. (It wasn’t the crying that bothered me, but rather the fact that someone was putting holes in their infant’s ears. Not really a fan of unnecessary pain or Party in the USA.)
A few months ago I often found myself listening to a particular Jars of Clay song - Benediction. One day I was happily humming along, “Go into the world, knowing how much He loves you...” when I realized that I wasn’t singing the right lyrics. It was “showing how much He loves you,” not “knowing how much He loves you.” My slightly smug singing stopped as I realized this mistake was probably more far-reaching in my life than I’d like to think. Sure, I might strut around my little world knowing that God loves me, but was I doing much to show others how much He loves them? Whoops. Talk about missing the point... And not even a highly theological premise. Nope, a basic Sunday School lesson. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine...” I was caught red-handed, hoarding my light under a bushel.
So how are we supposed to “show & shine”, so to speak? I do think actions usually speak louder than words, so first off we need to act and react in kind and loving ways. But when it comes to faith, there are sure to be plenty of questions, and hopefully enough answers. Sometimes we are the ones called to ask the questions. Or suggest the answers. This usually follows some small talk. Not necessarily in the barber chair, but you just never know... maybe I need to come out of my comfort zone and be more available, more in the moment. Not just at the hairdresser’s. In life in general. The fact is I enjoy being alone, and sometimes I need to be dragged out into company, companionship, community.
No doubt I still need some down time alone, but that is better viewed as fuel for the fire, not the fireworks. The Benediction is said at the end of many church services. It is a blessing, a command, a commission- you’ve been filled by the One, now pour out that love and mercy on the many. Go and show. How often do I go and think?!
So once I’m done with a little refuelling, I’ll try to go into the world showing how much He loves you... and maybe I’ll get my hair cut more often.