For most of my adult years, I’ve kept my stick-straight hair fairly short. But before having children, it reached halfway down my back. When our first baby began using it for a pull toy and teether, I paid my hairdresser a visit and a few dollars. Back home, my husband took one look at my three inch hair (permed into awful, but awfully convenient frizzy curls), closed his mouth and held his tongue for weeks. But the style kept my hair out of reach of tiny fingers.
I never grew hair that long again, but in my mid-fifties, I allowed it to creep, like seaweed down a rock, to my shoulderblades. Along the way, it became rather attached to me, and conversely, I to it. That, despite its colour (streaked with grey), texture (fine) and ends (split). And despite friends who strongly implied the season had arrived for a hair harvest. One blunt (and very short-haired) friend even told me after a meeting one day, “You know, I looked at you this morning and decided I like your hair a lot better short.” Me too, I said at the time. That was true on that day, but not every day.
I have many long-haired friends. When their hair blows in the wind, it looks like poetry. Most often, I gathered mine at the back in a clip or an old maid knot. When I set it free, what I liked most about it wasn’t how it blew all romantic in the breeze – I left that behind in my early twenties. What I liked about it in my fifties was that it covered my doubling chin from the side and didn’t need constant styling.
But my stylish older sister, who since childhood has served as my fashion advisor, watched my lengthening hair with dismay. Just before I visited her home, two provinces over, she asked, “Kath, can I make an appointment for you with my very excellent hairdresser?”
When the big sister steps in, I usually listen. I warned the Preacher that I may come home looking different. I warned myself that I may need to spend a little more time looking into the mirror, styling tools in hand.
I even warned my long-haired ladybeans. They had enjoyed our mutual commiseration as we all brushed through the morning tangles after their sleepovers.
“NO, NANA,” they howled. “Don’t cut it!” Nevertheless, a few days later I left my sister’s stylist feeling just right, my fling with long hair permanently over.
Concerning all things, the world is full of opinions. But concerning the most important, the state of the heart and the direction of our destiny, only one voice matters: the God who made us, who knows us best and loves us most. We hear His voice in many ways, but especially through the Bible. Like my big sis, he tells us truth we won’t hear from anyone else, even ourselves. And when we finally listen, it sets us right forever.