Snip—Snip—Smidgens of hair tickle my cheek, then splay upon the cape snapped around my neck. A glimpse into the oval mirror above the styling table catches the sinewy forearms of my hairdresser as he pauses before gripping the scissors and resumes cutting my bangs. Chatter and funky music pump up the busyness in his salon.

Again, I look into the mirror. Puffiness beneath my brown eyes and white-hair flecking my temples reveal my aging. It wasn’t always like this. A much younger face looked back at me when I had first sat in his styling hair. That was thirty-five years ago.

The first chair was in the Casual Coiffe in St. Louis, Missouri, a salon owned by his uncle. Not only was I surprised by his precision haircut, but also his kindness drew me to return every four months.

Over the years, pieces of his story emerged: an avid reader; working with his uncle and managing a fourplex in the Tower Grove area; his marriage and helping to birth two sons, parent, then empower them to be on their own; his first salon, with two subsequent changes in venues. Care lines in his clean-shaven face deepened as he styled hair and later cared for the needs of his infirm uncle, even his death and the disposal of his cremains in Ohio. Annual family vacations over the years to Mexican beaches sparked even more stories.

However, styling hair eventually became an occupational hazard that required several shoulder surgeries followed by painful convalescences. Once healed, he was back at work.

Helping his patrons, through the artistry of his hands, recalls a saying of Jesus: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:23.

His name is Rob, of Rob and Company Salon in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

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Tiger lilies are beginning to bloom. Talk of the Town, a popular species in our neighborhood, flourishes along fences and side gardens. Morning breezes excite their six-sculpted petals trembling with stamens and pistils; their orangeness ushers in summer’s brash colors. But in time, these rowdy adventurers will collapse their petals and wither and drop to the ground. Would that we could hold onto their beauty.

Looking deeper, we find this ordinary perennial rooted within the cycle of life and death. We, too, have a similar rootedness. How many springs have we experienced the pastel feathering of fruit trees, only to move into summer’s light-plays, followed by autumn’s chill and winter’s bluster? And quickened, yet again, with the return of kaleidoscopic color enlivening somber spirits?

So how can we relish such seasonal changes? Allow them to teach us? It seems to be about sacrifice: cutting away the unworkable for the fresh and untried.

Jesus talks about this when speaking of “the lilies of the field” (Matthew 6:28 +). He challenges his anxious listeners, ourselves included, to own their small-mindedness and to set their hearts on God’s Kingdom. Therein is experienced ultimate significance dressed in unchangeable colors, fresher than the first morning of creation.

 

 

 

 

 

Whups! I look closer and flip on the light, then blink several times into the mirror above the bathroom sink. More wrinkling on the sides of my mouth gives me the appearance of an angry crone; only with a broad grin does she vanish. And puffy pastiness spooks my eyes, a condition that suggests sleepless nights that rarely occur.

Then I remember my age and sink back upon my heels. For years I have been smoothing blush upon my sallow cheeks before social engagements lest others be alarmed by my cadaver-like complexion. All of this makes me vulnerable to cheerful come-ons to try this or that rejuvenation cream.

After marveling at the youthful complexion of Kate Middleton during Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, I looked up her product, BB Cream Golden Glow, she has been touting, worldwide, much to the dismay of the Royals. The compound of water, cyclopentasiloxane, octyldodecanol, dimethicone, and glycerin promises a healthy glow effect with just the right hint of illumination, offers immediate and long-term hydrating benefits, protects skin from premature aging and environmental stresses, and promotes skin regeneration. Just the product for me, I mused!

However, I scrolled down further and learned that a twenty-ounce-jar of BB Cream Golden Glow costs $393.

Yet, my heart of hearts knows the utter foolishness of all of this. Only earnest obedience to the consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) within our shadowy depths brings about this glow. In this daily dying, we find ultimate life. It’s always been that way.

 

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