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Not just a haircut…

I got my hair cut yesterday. I’m pretty stoked about that.
Someone seeing me today will notice I got it cut, but they probably won’t make any comment. It pretty much looks like I usually get it cut. Maybe there’s more gray in it (and I think when it’s shorter the gray is more noticeable because it glistens more), but that’s not due to the cut. That’s due to me getting old. It’s a haircut. There’s nothing on the surface to get excited about.

The fact is, my head doesn’t tell the story.

Emily cut my hair last night. Some of you may remember her. I met her about three months ago, and within a couple of weeks, she had a car accident and spent some time in the ICU. She wasn’t able to work for a long time for fear of aggravating her internal injuries, but on top of that, she wasn’t regaining much use of her left arm. She was getting physical therapy but wasn’t really improving. She went in for an MRI, fearing a torn rotator cuff, and instead they found a shoulder fracture.

But that was good news. A rotator cuff usually requires surgery and takes a couple months to heal, even when you’re 20. A mild shoulder fracture doesn’t. The doctor was pretty distressed she’d been receiving physical therapy though. That would have made the shoulder a lot worse, and he was surprised to see it was healing. But one of our seminarians put it best: Emily’s made of rubber right now. God’s really looking out for her.

At some point I told myself I wouldn’t get my hair cut until Emily was able to cut it. If that meant I ran around looking like Samson for a while, so be it. I didn’t want anyone else touching my hair, and I was pretty adamant about it.

We hung out last Tuesday and she seemed fairly normal–her left arm pretty much hung there and didn’t do much. But when I saw her again Friday, she was holding her glass with her left hand and even drinking with it. I commented about that. She got a twinkle in her eye and said yeah, she was moving around better, and she gave three haircuts that day. Then she smiled really gleefully, like a kid in a candy store with $100 to spend.

I asked her if I could have an appointment. She told me to call her.

It feels weird to be excited about a haircut. But it’s not the haircut. The haircut’s immaterial. What’s important is what the haircut represents. It represents the livelihood of a friend who nearly died, and has had to work really hard to get back to the point of being able to give a haircut again.

I’ll never have another one quite like it.

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