Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It just didn’t seem fair to keep Locks of Love waiting any longer. For days my curly locks have gotten tangle in my scarf, snaggled by my coat collar, captured by the backs of chairs, entangled by the straps of purses and generally, frequently closed in doors. I took a deep breath before launching into an outstanding appeal. “Papa, can I cut my hair?” “How much?” he looked at me out of the corners of his eyes. “Locks of Love needs ten inches. I could cut off a foot and still have it here,” I drew an imaginary line just below my breastbone. And that was that. I couldn’t believe how easily I had secured his permission. Grandma, who had come home with us for the week, was equally enthusiastic. Josiah and Lydia were curious. Mom simply came up with a mile-long list of to-dos that prevented her from finding time to make the severance. A thin disguise for her unwillingness to see me shorn. Finally she was persuaded to lop my locks, which she did with a constant chorus of, “Are you sure you want to do this? Well, it’s gone now. I can’t put it back on.” As soon as she finished layering I took a quick look in the mirror and stared, aghast. With short, straight hair, I’d just gone back to being twelve again. My ponytail lay forlorn and lifeless on the tile counter. “I think it looked better long,” Josiah said quietly from the doorway. Well. What’s done is done. I shrugged, bagged up my ponytail and went to take a shower.

A short time later we all piled into the car for a trip into town for the inevitable shopping experience. I could have done without shopping. Lauryn met us in Belk for a quick “hello.” “I have something to show you,” she told me excitedly over the phone. I paused for a minute to think. “Did you find a car?” Her voice dropped. “How’d you guess?” then the buoyancy returned as she laughed, “of course you would guess.” I got the drop on her with the surprise. She noticed my missing hair immediately and squealed. “Oh, I like it! It’s so cute!” (I didn’t stop to ask her if that was a twelve-year-old cute or a mature, sophisticated cute.) Then she demanded, “What did Zach say?” I blinked. “Zach? Uh…I just did it this morning. He hasn’t seen it yet.” Why in the world did she ask about Zach? Aside from everything being a big deal to him. “He’s so funny,” she went on. “I can’t wait to see what he’ll say. Just the other day he was telling me, ‘Abigail’s just growing and changing so much.’” I blinked again, confused. “Not Lydia?” I shook my head and started laughing. “That makes me sound like I’m twelve or something.” Lauryn laughed, too. “I was like, ‘Now Zach, what do you mean? Abigail’s only like a year younger than we are.’ He never really said what he meant.” We shared a laugh at Zach's expense. He's certainly generous with providing entertainment. I’ve only known Zach for a couple of years. I can’t have grown and changed that much.

The opportunity to see Zach’s response came this evening when he walked through the doorway while I worked on supper. He looked at me hard for a little while and then said, “Did you cut your hair off? Come over here so I can look at you!” Such bossiness. Sometimes he really does make me feel twelve. After a critical examination, he announced, “Wow. You look about twelve.” The rest of the night he talked about my hair. “Are you pretty stoked about it? You’re glowing. I’m pretty stoked about it.” Then he paused. “What did your dad say?” And he proceeded to demand who else knew and make conjectures about how different people would react, stopping periodically to ask questions like how much had I cut off? I have no clue whether it made me appear to be growing and changing (hopefully from twelve to twenty-one), but I would guess he approved. He’d certainly have made it clear if he hadn’t. As for glowing, my nose might have been red. I was cold.

Who’d have guessed a hair-cut would be such a big deal, aside from being a Nazarite and keeping a vow?

This growing and changing thing is nagging me. Changing for the better? Not possible. I’m still so frustrated with myself and dissatisfied with the growth and change I see—or don’t see, really. My heart and thoughts and motives are forever so unholy. So impatient. So selfish. I feel like I’ve taken a huge nose dive, in a deadly spiral just opposite of where I need to be going. I’d hoped no one else had noticed a change for the worse.

Lord, I want to grow and change
Into the image of Thy Son,
And yet I never seem to grow
Or change for better, either one.

I know that Thou hast promised me
That Thou’d complete what Thou begun.
And all that Thou hast done is good,
Through Jesus Christ, Thy perfect Son.

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