Saturday, August 6

Locks of Love


I did it! I cut my hair two weeks ago and it was a crazy experience. This was my third time to do it, but probably the one that meant the most to me. The drastic new hair style came right when I am starting a new job, so it also symbolized a new beginning for me.

Thank you to all the women who told me they were doing Locks of Love in the near future as well. It was encouraging and very exciting to know that so many other people are serving in this way.

This week, I got an email from my friend, Julia, that immediately humbled me. She emailed an article from a man at her home church about his own daughter and her experience with Locks of Love.

This is the article that Phil wrote about his daughter, Megan. Please note that Locks of Love is not a religious affiliation, but Phil found some great analogies to our faith. That definitely meant a lot to me.

Good luck to all of my friends who are growing their hair out for this great cause. I am so proud of and excited for you!

LOCKS OF LOVE
           I honestly didn't want her to do it.  Her, being Megan, it, being cutting her beautiful long auburn hair short several years ago for the purpose of donating those locks to make wigs for young ladies fighting illnesses such as cancer.  A noble cause, no doubt, but she was after all my Meggy Lou and that beautiful long red hair had taken years to grow.  Why would I, her father, want to see what had been so precious to her, and me, cut off?
           What was even harder to grasp was the fact that she was so willing to do it.  I imagine that sounds pretty self-centered, not being able to rejoice in the fact that your daughter was so unselfish that of course she was going to donate her hair because that's what she had been blessed with which she could use to bless others.  Yes, I was proud.  Proud of her selflessness, of her love for those unseen and unknown, of her compassion for those in need, but I still couldn't get my mind around her eagerness to make the sacrifice.
           I could hardly stand it when it came time.  I never discouraged her - I think - but I wanted so to say "Megan, are you sure you want to do this?" as she walked out the door.
           I wasn't there for the transaction.  I could not have stood to watch.  She told me later she was, in fact, a little nervous, but she was looking forward to the future, the new look for her, the new look for some other young ladies.
           I really didn't want to be around when she got home because I didn't want to have to lie when she asked me if I liked it.  Besides, I am a nostalgic and generally hold to the literal interpretation of scripture that long hair is glory to a woman, so why cut off what the Spirit himself describes as something that is a source of honor and admiration?

           One thing you come to learn as a parent is that having kids helps you to grow in your understanding of God and His relationship with us as Father.  Our kids simply help us empathize with how He must feel in His dealings with us.  The frustration when you sit and explain to them why their course of action is unwise but they do it anyway.  The anger when they lie to your face, or pretend it never happened, or try to cover it up.  The fear when you see their next decision, or the lack of the right one, could take them from you forever.  The sadness when your very own creation is adrift.  The hurt when they hurt.  The joy when love is returned.  The peace when wisdom is chosen.  The satisfaction of seeing them grow and mature and live a purposeful, meaningful life.
           Understanding God better because you have your own kids also makes you cut them more slack since you better realize just how much grace you too are given by your Father.  You understand how frustrated and upset He must get with us, because we often treat Him no different than our teenagers treat us.  You realize that sometimes, maybe even most of the time, He must need someone to run interference for us because if truth be told, the natural parental action "ort" to be to hang us by our toenails.  Praise be that He loved us so much that He let His Son willingly be cut off from Him so we can have that grace that gives us life.  Praise be.

           The news you, our spiritual family, have born with our physical family about Megan and her cancer has not been easy to bear.  Certainly our bearing it together has made it lighter, but it’s still a long, tough row to hoe.  But it's the row we've been given, and hoe it we will - with God's grace.
           There are a million emotions bursting at the seams when you get such news.  And Megan, the just-ran-a-5-K-obstacle-course, tough-as-nails, country girl took it better than her folks.  She's just that strong.  While Myra and I have cried often - the emotion that seems to win at our seams - Megan has kept on "the Sunny Side of Life", smiling that beautiful smile through it all, even after throwing up her lunch.  The only two exceptions to this has been when the doctors first said what you don't want to hear - but they have to - and when they told her she would likely lose her hair, short term, from the chemo.  Her beautiful auburn hair that she was growing out to donate again to the Locks of Love organization for some young lady somewhere else in need.  Who knew that some young woman wasn't somewhere else?

           I am ashamed that I didn't want her to do it.  I am ashamed that I could not see the comfort her love no doubt gave someone a few years ago on a day that Megan soon too may face, when a few locks of donated love make facing the day a little easier.
           Megan, my child, has helped me to understand the Father like I couldn't before.  I understand better His willingness to let part of Himself be cut off for others.  I understand better His selflessness, His love for those in need.  I understand better that God the Father couldn't stand to watch the transaction.  I understand better that God the Son was, in fact, a little nervous, but was looking forward to the future, to the new look for Him at the right hand side, and to the new look for others His sacrifice would give.  I understand better that someone had to step up and do it, that grace needs a donor.  I understand better that as a parent sometimes you must let happen what you don't want to, so that other children can have a better day.
           When Megan walked through the door after donating her locks of love, I was stunned.  I never saw a more beautiful transformation.  She had left the house a little girl but she returned as a young woman.  A beautiful young woman.  A very beautiful young woman, in whom I am well pleased.
           I know, now, some of God's own feelings when Jesus His Child came back to the House when it was all over.  Just as proud as could be.
- Phil Jarrell

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