Today, a girlfriend asks to cut my hair and on a whim I let her. In twenty short minutes I go from a respectable suburban mom to an establishment sort of woman on her way to the Country Club. I hate it instantly, drive home in shock, and cry hard for an entire hour.
My 13-year-old reminds me it will grow back. My husband tells me I still have a pretty face. My 10-year-old runs to get a scarf. I wrap the scarf around my head, look in the mirror, and cry some more. I feel ridiculous crying over such vanities with tsunami victims suffering in Japan, and the United States government on the verge of a shutdown. I feel foolish modeling to my girls such a lack of grace and gratitude. They too would have to come to grips with a bad hair cut someday, and the memory of this dramatic episode would not be helpful.
I dry my eyes and run my fingers through my mediocre A-line cut. I am not my haircut, I remind myself. Neither was I my first grade Shirley Temple haircut with the velvet bow. That girl had poise. That girl withstood teasing about her short curls and cats-eye glasses. That girl wrote each letter of her name with dignity. That girl deserves more than this. That girl deserves wisdom, wit, and affection. That girl deserves to be a woman who has learned something of inner beauty, and who still writes each letter of her name with nobility.
Just like Socrates, I pray thee O God, that I may be beautiful within. Wise with the knowing that real beauty comes when I seek to reveal the beauty of others. Meek enough to understand that in the compassionate unveiling of others, the light of my own soul is revealed.
I can do this with simple acts of kindness, like listening with interest of others and taking inspired action on that which I am called to do. I can plead to see others and myself through the renewed eyes of wonder and the holy awe of a child. I can, instead of looking in the mirror at my reflection, become an illuminated reflection of that which is love.
I am not my haircut. I am a simple girl who today, is choosing again. Instead of vain tears, I choose gratitude, and grace. Instead of self reflection, I choose to reflect the brilliant light and resplendence of others. In doing so, I honor my little Shirley Temple, who chose, despite the jeers of her peers, to write each letter of her name, with the dignity of a girl who knew something of sparkling from within.