I am part of a writing group and last month we decided to have everyone write about a common topic: hair. Here is my piece from that exercise.
Nine days ago, we got a dog. Delilah. She’s a beautiful brindle colour. Eight days ago I started wearing that brindle colour to work. Her hair is already all over! It got me thinking about hair.
Hair is powerful.
Until recently, my 12-year old child had long hair. I guess I’m thinking about hair because Favian recently got a hair cut. They decided they wanted something different. They decided that while they were doing something different, they would help out a stranger. They had her hair shaved right to the scalp so they could donate as much of it as possible to an organization that makes wigs for kids with Leukemia. Their hair is on its way to a new home. Having hair, real human hair, makes a significant difference to young people dealing with a serious illness. It gives hope, a semblance or normalcy, an opportunity to not look sick. A child undergoing chemo has the distressing experience of finding not only stray hairs, but too much hair. All the hair. Then none. What is that like? No hairs on the pillow, no hairs on the couch, on the floor, in the butter. Is there a sense of not even being there when there’s no hair to leave behind?
The Bible says that God knows how many hairs I have on my head. Why would that be a significant thing to say? I have A LOT of hair. I know people love me despite not having any clue how many hairs inhabit my head. I don’t worry that someone can only truly know me if they know how many hairs I have. And yet, God bothers to know. It seems inconsequential. But if I think about that, really think about it, I am overwhelmed with the care God has for me. It makes sense that God knows about my stomach and my heart and my liver, my kidneys and lungs: I need those things to survive. But my hair? That is going above and beyond any kind of human ability to love and care for me. I can imagine that God loves me enough to count even the hairs I leave behind.
When I think of the power of hair and how hair can symbolize care, I think hair means you’re home. I find my long hairs on my clothes, on the furniture, on the floor. I find Favian’s blonde hairs on my clothes, on the furniture, on the floor. I find Barry’s beard hairs on my clothes, on the furniture, on the floor. They’re my family, part of my home. These intimate bits of all of us are throughout the space we most inhabit. The fact that I find these hairs everywhere means we are not only home here, but are at home here. Until now, her hairs were caught in the wind and carried away, left in the grass where she lay down to find rest, perhaps even left on the hands of someone shooing her away. Not anymore. Now Delilah leaves her hairs on my clothes, on my furniture, on my floor. She’s my family, part of my home, moving where she wishes, making herself comfortable in ways she couldn’t have before. Her hairs mean she’s home, not left behind.