On Monday night I had a dream that I haphazardly cut my hair & didn't have enough to donate. I'm not sure too many people know this about me but I take my dreams fairly seriously. Not in the "this is actually going to happen" sense but in the "there is something I need to pay attention to" sense.
For weeks my hair had been bothering me. It was getting too long & heavy to stay in a neat ponytail and I had far passed the clip stage. For a normally short haired girl who really needs her hair out of her face I was going crazy.
On Wednesday morning before I headed out to work I asked Mitch to measure my hair. My objective had been 10 inches in order to donate to Locks of Love. Well, I only had 9 inches. Later that day I got online & learned that Pantene Beautiful Lengths takes donations of 8 inches. Before I had time to really digest what I was about to do, I called my hair dresser & made an appointment for that afternoon.
Instead of cutting my hair in a ponytail, she actually went around my head and cut in pieces so that we could get as much length as possibly from both the front & back.
When I got home I measured the cut ponytail. Some important details here, for Pantene Beautiful Lengths you measure from the elastic of the ponytail to the end. However, for Locks of Love, you measure from tip to tip and you measure the longest layer.
I would love to tell you guys that I walked out of there full of joy over what I had just accomplished. But, that wouldn't be true. Yes, I recognized what I was doing & how it would help someone else but I was also sad. After being away from short hair for 15 months it was a bit of a shock to no longer look like the "me" I had grown used to seeing. I kept telling myself that it was OK, it would grow, by the time little bean comes I could have shoulder length hair again.
It was in this state of shock & a little bit of mourning that it hit me. Really, really hard. THIS is why I just spent 15 months of my life growing out my hair to donate. For an afternoon, I had a glimmer of what it must be like for women & children going through a battle with cancer who lose their hair as part of their fight. To lose control over what for many of us, is such an integral part of who we are, must be such a sorrow.
Cancer is a horrible thing. A little over 10 years ago I lost my grandmother to bone marrow cancer. Due to distance I didn't witness most of her battle but I was aware of the pain that she was in & the suffering she experienced. There is so much internally & privately that a cancer patient has to go through that I cannot even begin to imagine. And then to have changes that are publicly seen must only add another layer to the pain.
Once I settled with all of this, I was grateful for my small saddness spurred by vanity. This experience has added a depth to my compassion. I truly lead such a blessed life and sometimes I can get caught up in my own small trials that I forget this. But, there are afternoons like this, where I'm able to make some small connection to those with larger trials than mine to serve as a reminder that I am blessed. It is my responsibility to share my blessings in any little or big way that I can. For now, that is cutting my hair 9 inches.
Some day, Garrett & I will talk about the time Mama cut her hair short & he didn't like it, at all. With a few years on him I'll be able to talk to him about this particular afternoon in greater depth. I'll be able to explain to him why I did it. I'll explain to him that it's not always about us. I'll explain to him that sometimes it's about trying to do what we can with what we have, no matter how big or small.
My prayer is that through these small acts he witnesses he will develop a great compassion for others within him. I just want him to know in his heart that the little things we do everyday to make someone's life better are important. Even if its just a smile or a good morning or cleaning out your closet for donations or chopping off your hair.