Lenten reset week three: sitting with this unfamiliar picture in the mirror
My hair is growing, quite quickly, as anticipated.
But although people are enjoying stroking my hair as they would pat a cat, its return to natural, and the apparently wonderful shape of my head, I still feel uneasy.
When I look in the mirror, I still have the feeling of absence, that something is missing, loss. It takes me back, actually, to my early 20s when my body changed shape in response to various medical issues and remedies. It took me years to recognise the body in the mirror as mine, let alone to learn to accept and love my body again. I look in the mirror at my head without its hair and don't really recognise me, don't really like the picture I see.
But that's not actually complete, because I am feeling so much else when I look in the mirror, or stroke my head as if I was patting a cat. I quite like the feeling of my soft short hair, for a start. And I am loving the simplification of getting ready to go out into the world - I put on a hat if it's cold or sunny. And that's it, as far as my hair goes. There's no red dye colouring my collars. I'm coughing no accidentally inhaled hairspray. These are all somewhat unexpected benefits to shaving my head.
And as for the picture I see; on the surface, it is not my preference. But I didn't do this for looks, no matter how lovely it is to hear the opinions of others that it suits me.
I did this to be confronted. I did this for solidarity. I did this to remind myself that I have enough, and even enough to share.
Enough money to contribute towards care and research in response to the cancer that is plaguing my community.
Enough time to spend in prayer for and with my neighbours.
Enough energy to attend to stories of suffering and stories of hope.
Enough love for the people I am called to serve.
That is also in the picture I see, and that part of it I do like - really like. And that is enough 'like' to not turn away from the picture entirely.