I whacked all my hair off on Saturday, because on Friday it just didn’t look or feel right. When my hairdresser whirled me around in the chair and my reflection was beaming back at me, I was like a tad shocked. “Why is my hair so short?? Bless her heart, in her sweetest voice said “because you said get rid of that length.” I said, ” you are right. I did say that. I just didn’t know how awful I would look with it gone!” and then I felt the tears from the entire past week well in my eyes. In my best southern fashion, I was legit crazy over hair. She was a trooper. She deserves a metal.
Reality: It’s two inches shorter….maybe. It looks totally fine and nobody has said boo about my hair being shorter. Okay, maybe a few people I work with mentioned it. Maybe the others are afraid I’ll literally break down in tears, who knows???— but maybe it really doesn’t look that bad. Let’s get real- it’s just hair!
In that moment, this sweet lady who I call a dear friend gave me grace. She said it looks great, I love that you said take the length off. Maybe she was afraid I’d have a true meltdown in her shop, but knowing her I know it wasn’t that. She cared. She fixed my hair and sent me on my way. I sent her a apology note feeling like a total crazed hormonal woman. “It’s really only hair and you had a rough week Liv, cut yourself some slack.” I owe her.
Last week my husband was in Las Vegas. I had an issue come up with my pregnancy which led to a pretty stern talking to by my doctor, maybe even what some would like to say– ” come to Jesus meeting”. The risk felt like my fault, or so it has seemed. She reassured me it wasn’t, but I couldn’t help but blame myself. My mind went a million different directions in a split second. I had not felt good, yet thought I was being a wimp and pushed forward despite what my body was saying.
I just needed a few more weeks, get myself through the holidays and then I can be laid up from January-March. I have things to do! I don’t make excuses for myself. I just do it. Things have to get done. If I don’t want to gain 70 pounds during this pregnancy, I gotta get and keep moving. I needed the laundry done. Wash it. I need the house cleaned. Clean it. You need Christmas to happen- Momma’s go to go shopping! Nobody will know from January- March if I have a few extra dust bunnies, but right now the dust bunnies can not accumulate and presents and cookies need to be bought and made.
There really isn’t any time to slow down or so it felt.
Early Sunday morning, still feeling a tad defeated I dreamt about my Mom and woke up remembering a very vivid conversation. My mom when diagnosed with cancer for the second time was asked by a friend, “Sue, you are a good person. Why is God making you suffer?” At this point in her illness, we all knew what the future would hold. Her friend being the sweetest and most caring person, only asked because she didn’t understand either.
I remember sitting across the room, half listening to their conversation. But, this question in the conversation had peaked my interest. I remember her bedroom was large and it had been cold from the air conditioning running. It was the time of year you needed the heat on in the morning and the air on in the afternoon. I was curled up in a soft blanket and had been studying for a final exam. I was there to hold down the fort and my Mom’s sweet friend was giving me time to study. My legs were crossed. My thick British Lit textbook spread out on the couch. I remember holding my pencil up to my brow. My ears were peeled to the answer to be given. What would my Mom say?
Yes!, I’m mad about that too Mom’s friend. Let’s figure this out all together in this very room right NOW. How about we all decide why and go and tackle who or what did this again. Why? How? I know…. I’ve been wondering the same for months and here you are in the flesh asking the very question that had been mulling around in my head since last spring.
My Mom in her infinite wisdom quietly replied,
” …. but why not me?”
My eyes were wet. A most humbling voice had endured terrible pain uttered a simple yet profound statement. The same woman who lost her hair not once, but twice and held her head high. The woman who had endured brain surgery just months before and had over 20 staples in her head. The same woman who was only 51, but had dealt with so much more sickness than one person should ever deal with. She spoke four words that settled it all. She accepted it. She accepted the plan that was laid out for her and had not wished away her trial.
In the simple answer, my Mom had submitted to her plan as elegant as a royal lady at the ball. She was graceful. She saw the grace in her cancer.
Grace is what provides the peace when we can’t control the unpredictable in our lives- a sickness, our day to day life stressors, a spouse being gone, a sudden death, raising kids, having kids, taking care of parents, financial stress, work -family life balance. Acknowledging the stressors, but accepting it with agility was exactly what I was lacking from the previous week.
I had only seen the help offered as a sign of weakness and failure, but it was all actions of grace sent for my personal peace. A Dad who called and said he was grabbing dinner for my five year old. Grace from a friend who put her tights on for dance class. Grace from family members who volunteered to feed and bathe my child. They also made me laugh for the first time in days. Grace from a boss who understood the risks. Grace from a friend who offered and insisted on bringing dinner. Grace from a friend who called to check in. Grace from a fill-in Mom who watched my kid for a couple of hours in a pinch. Grace from an airplane pilot who was ahead of the flight schedule so my husband could arrive home as planned. Grace from a husband who let me sleep on Sunday afternoon and took care of it all. Grace from God who reassured me this would all be alright and that he is in control. That this is his plan. Not my plan. Not our plan, but a plan he has had in the making for a very long time. A plan that I thought was out of my reach and control and then he provided grace to help me understand it.
You see- these people I call “mine” are my grace and it’s not by accident that they are my people. They are my people because he knew I needed them. He knew I needed to hear my mom say,
“but why not me?”
so I could learn to accept the things I can not control. I’m not claiming to do it with elegance, but I am doing it much slower than I’m sure he imagined. In fact, nearly thirteen years later. SLOW. SLOW. SLOW
Even as I type, my people are sending emails over “hammer time” which means ham and not Turkey, on actual Turkey day. So lesson learned, you gotta embrace the crazy and leave it up to him. That’s so hard though, isn’t it? At least for me it is.
Grace is that moment you look up in the sky and you think it’s going to storm, but instead you see the rainbow and sometimes if you are lucky enough, you are blessed with double rainbows.