When I was in high school, I cut my hair short. Really, really short. Like two centimeters longer than a buzz cut. All during my freshman year of high school (and actually, into my adult life as well) my hair was something of a conundrum. The girls around me—from the cheerleaders to the artistic hippies—all had hair that spoke of who they were . . . that displayed the beauty of their identities. I didn't know where I fit in or what type of beauty belonged to me. So I gave up on hair and went looking for my face.
I think my choice to go ultra short was bewildering to many of my classmates. My haircut was only flattering from certain angles on certain days of the week. In t-shirts, I looked like and effeminate boy. Yet, for me, my short hair was a matter of self-acceptance. Each time the family stylist took the scissors to my head, I felt like I was uncovering my face beneath all the decorations. Without hair to frame my face, I was forced to see my sleepy eyes, my upturned nose, my thin, English lips. My face was the truth; I would not grow my hair again until I knew the truth well enough to know how to frame it properly. By the end of my senior year, my hair was growing out, shaggy blond ends fanning out around my ears, and I knew who I was and why I was pretty (in my own flawed little way).
In my adult years, I found myself conducting a spiritual version of this exercise. As a child of the church, I grew up with a sturdy frame for my faith . . . with all the customs and hymns and Churchspeak that demonstrated my particular style of faith. Now, I can't knock many of the religious practices I grew up with. As I've said before, I'm a ritual junkie, and the customs of my faith fulfill and sustain me. That said, I reached a point (sometime in college, naturally), when I had grown so comfortable with the same old frame that I wasn't sure I knew the truth about the God at the center of it. I had lost Him in there somewhere.
So I began to trim. I stepped back from playing the leader in Bible studies. I grew less inclined to talk about my faith and more inclined to keep quiet and listen. I even (sorry, Mom and Dad!) started skipping church more often than I attended it. I kept cutting and cutting until I was completely alone with God—my flawed, lovely, spiritual self lying bare before Him. And it wasn't until I felt grounded in this inspirational relationship again that I began to let my practice grow back.
It's nice to tell this story about my spiritual growth. I generally keep it to myself, afraid that I'll be judged as a wayward sheep, but then "wayward" isn't the word, is it? How can it be when God is always beside me, willing to hold me steady while I cut all the trappings away if that's what it takes for my feeble little eyes to finally see Him?
My worship begins here,
here in this still, simple place
where You are--
here at the core inside of my words,
inside of my songs,
inside of my spiritual schedule.
Let my faith be a bloom,
the petals of my practice
fanning out around the Center that sustains them,
that inspires and informs them.
Be my first, last, and middle,
so that when the music dies down
and the crowd scatters,
I still remember why I came.
I came to be with You.
posted by Susan Diamond“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” ~Author Unknown My core values of honesty, respect for others, truthfulness, being charitable, being a good wife, loyal friend and teacher to my daughters are examples my mother taught me. What a wonderful forever ...
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Often we need to wait for things to unfold gloriously and to take time to listen to the angels. Good things come to those who wait to accept them with a grateful heart.