While I knew it was fairly certain to happen, I had hoped, but still, there I sat on the edge of the tub sobbing. Cleaning up the endless strands of hair seemed futile. The tears weren’t so much for me as they were for my son. He is so visual and I knew this would be a blow for him; trigger his concern. The hair loss would officially make it real for the both of us. I was right, and as I sat on the bed telling him, my heart broke for him as his broke for me. “It could be worse,” doesn’t offer much consolation in those moments. Nonetheless, it could be worse.
The next day a ray of hope and sunshine arrived in the form of two friends. They whisked me off to Walmart for a new head wardrobe and, of course, big hoop earrings J. Then back to the house to refine our novice head-shaving skills. I’m happy to report, no blood loss. By the end, I couldn’t believe how amazing I felt… I felt pretty… and confident. One of the most treasured part of the day? That they brought my Jesus with them. I cannot explain the calm that washed over me as my friend stood with her hand on my shoulder. It wasn’t her hand that she stretched out to hold mine, it was Jesus’. Then, we concluded with a time of communion. I will not debate the theology or properness of communion. It wasn’t about the ritual, it was about the relationship. I needed my Jesus, to know and reflect on his restorative presence.
Exodus 17:11-12 tells us that the battle was being won while Moses held his arms high… more significantly, when Moses grew tired, Aaron and Hur held his hands up for him. My arms were tired Thursday as I sat looking down at the seaweed of hair drifting in the tub water, I am thankful for the friends who came along and held them steady. The image of Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses has been one that God has reminded me of frequently. Most often, it is when I think about all the prayer warriors out there lifting me up. My struggle runs deep right now, and, honestly, there are times when even prayer is difficult. I don’t know what to say…what to ask…what to cry, so it is a comfort to know that others are crying out for me. I also feel great strength when I think of the chorus of prayers being lifted… a wonderful mix of a beautiful medley and a persistent knock that will not be turned away.