Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The History of Hair

The last time I got my hair trimmed, I remember thinking about the fact that human hair tells the story of a person's life.  As I watched the ends of my hair fall to the floor, I thought about the fact that more than likely, the hair that had just been cut off was probably the last of the hair that was on my head when my dear friend, Michelle, was still alive.  Morbid, sad thought, I know.  My husband never ceases to be amazed at how overly sentimental I can be about everything--oddly, even my stupid hair.

There are many studies and scientific journals that support the fact that human hair not only carries our DNA and individual genetic makeup, but a hair sample can show what drugs a person has taken, whether or not they have had changes in their metabolic functioning, and whether or not they've been under strain of any kind (bodily stress or health problems).  Criminal scientists have even discovered that the hair of bomb terrorists shows evidence of the chemicals used in their bombs, even after a few washings.  It is truly amazing how much our hair strands (and nails, for that matter) tell about us.  Our hair speaks of our lives.  This makes me wonder if this idea was from where the saying, "Get out of my hair," derived.  When we tell someone we're going to, "get out of their hair," we basically mean that we're going to get out of their life--temporarily or permanently.

Human hair typically grows anywhere from half an inch to one inch within a month's time.  Doing some quick calculating, I realized that my recent haircut probably removed the last of the hair that was on my head when my friend was still alive and when I said goodbye to her.  It disturbed me a bit, and I fully recognize that this is a strange thing by which to be bothered.  What difference does it make that the hair that showed the traces and signs of the stress I was under 20 months ago is gone?  It should have felt cathartic.  I mean, keeping that hair on my head wasn't keeping the memory of my friend alive.  But that haircut gave me the realization that the history of that horrible time in my life is gone and over.  My hair no longer carries the story of the loss of my friend and the horrid two months of severe illness I suffered immediately afterward.  It was a strange reminder that just as a chapter in my hair's history has now been cut-off, I too, have been pruned and changed in the past 20 months. It is time to let go, move ahead, and grow a new history.

This bizarre epiphany also made me think of Luke 12:7, which says, "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more [to God] than many sparrows."  I also thought of the verse in Luke 21:18, which says, "But not a hair of your head will perish."  In that particular verse, Jesus is speaking to the disciples about the end times and all the horrible things that will happen prior to His return.  He is warning them to hold fast to their faith of the truth of Him, and they will win their lives back in Him, regardless of what happens to them here on earth.  It amazes me that God knows how many hairs are on my head.  That seems like a random, useless thing about which for Him to be concerned.  But there are three main truths those verses are meant to relay to us--that He is an all-knowing God, that He knows each of us personally and intimately, and that He cares for us deeply.  He not only knows how many hairs are on my head, He knows the full history captured within every strand.  That truth was a reassuring one to me, as well as the fact that not a hair on my head will perish in the real end of life.  It blessed me to realize that He cares about everything in my past, present, and future--regardless of whether some of my history feels "cut-off" from me.  He cares deeply for us all and He knows our hurts.  He longs to heal any hurts from our past and give us a fresh start--a new history to write upon each strand of our lives.  

It feels good to get a haircut.  It is a refreshing feeling because my hair always feels like it has this renewed bounce, spirit, and vibrancy about it.  Life is like that, too.  Sometimes we need old, dead things cut-off from us, even if they will always be a part of our history.  We need to let them go and we need a fresh start.  Praise be to God for fresh haircuts and new beginnings.

Isaiah 43:18-19--"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."