Today, as I scratch the back of my head innocently enough, my hand pulls away lightly with a small pile of hair. I knew this day was coming, I remind myself as I run both hands through my hair. I stare at the handfuls of light, limp blonde hair in front of me thinking this is my reward for the battle the night before.
It’s funny what people say when they find out you have cancer. One group, and I’m the one grouping them, have said to me, “What’s the big deal about loosing your hair? It grows back. Why in the world do people care about loosing their hair when their life is on the line?” These people need…..prayer. Smile. I won’t convince them to stop and think before they speak. Marginalizing side effects of a deadly poison going into a cancer patient shows a slight lack of compassion.
Intellectually, I know, and other patients know, their hair will grow back. We get the science of it. But, there is more to us as persons than facts, such as, say, how our hair follicles are doing on the cellular level. Loss effects our hearts, our souls in existential ways that are hard to quantify. We loose a friendship, a housekey, a cell phone, our thoughts, our hair. It matters.
What comforts me during some compassionless conversations about hair loss for cancer patients, is the humility and compassion of Jesus. As I loose my hair, especially at Christmas, I know He understands and cares about my hair loss, and all my losses for that matter. Why? Because before Jesus and I had a love relationship, God and I had loss of relationship, separated by my own cancerous rebellion and sin, my “I don’t need the One who loves me on every possible level” alienation. Yes, I was the jerk in that conversation.
God didn’t like our failed relationship, His and mine. Well, and yours with Him if you are in that spot. So much so, He sent Jesus to restore what was lost. Celebrating Christmas, we remember Jesus humbled Himself so profoundly to become a mere mortal, beginning as a vulnerable baby. He knows loss on the scientific level, the existential level, the spiritual level, even the hair follicle level and the God level. (Who knows what that is; I’m not God.)
Today, as I talk with my God about this latest loss, I know there are no jerks in the conversation, but a compassionate lover of all of me.
“God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law.” (Gal. 4:4-5).
Collage above by Marcia Carole entitled “Holy Ground.”