Monday, August 13, 2007

When I was young I had hair. A lot of hair. It was very thick, quite wavy and brown. It began to fall out significantly while I was in college. I remember watching it circle the shower drain, and wondered how to stop it.

I never got the upper hand on that query.

My passport expires soon. I have to reapply. I am wondering what to put in the blank that requests my hair color.

If I let it grow, it is salt and peppery, but still has brown in it. If I write "brown," it seems like I am lying. What to do, what to do?

I have worn my hair close cropped for years. It wasn't until last year in Africa that I changed my hair style. (That feels like a lie, too. Can you say "Change your hairstyle," when you aren't displaying any?)

One of my students was leaving for the military shortly after we got back (he is in Iraq now). He decided he was going to shave his head now to get ready. His friend who was also with us, decided he would show support by also shaving his head. Now, when I say shave, I mean close cropped. They had no intent of scraping it all off.

They asked if they could borrow my clippers. "Certainly," I said.

Well, three swaths into the clipping, my tired electric razor gave up. Something to do with different electrical currents and not liking the converter that was being used probably contributed to their demise.

Anyway, we had an instant dilemma. This student had three stripes on the back of his head, and no way to make the rest of it look equal.

Quickly the decision was made to borrow disposable razors, and rake the rest of it off...both of their heads.

They went from normal looking young men to those that would stand out in every crowd we assembled in. Those gleaming white heads commanded attention.

I was left with a choice. Let my scrubby scratches of scree grow out for the rest of the summer, or shave it all off. I deferred my decision for almost a week. It got to that stage where it was too long to look close cropped, but too short to lay down, so I walked around like I'd been quilled by a porcupine.

When I could take it no longer, I shaved it all...and I haven't stopped since.

The interesting thing is that children of other lands (and drunk ladies) have never seen such a thing, and have many questions about it. Well, they mostly have rhetorical questions and/or rude comments.

They begin with "he has no hair." The next one is generally "is it cold up there?" Both are followed by obligatory laughter.

I've discovered that when they realize that I understand what they are saying, their curiosity turns more personal. They want to touch the anomaly. I have had many children in foreign lands pet my head. When one does it, they all want to, and line up to take turns. Interestingly, none want to be left out.

This has opened the door of opportunity for me to share with them. Often, my team reminds me of Elijah's comments from the Old Testament. Annoyed with unkind offerings of a similar nature, he called upon the Lord to destroy them at the mouths of wild beasts. There was one time this past summer when I was very tempted. Actually two, but the drunk ladies did not qualify as children.

For the most part, I have recognized that my appearance can be a bit intimidating, and the curiosity of it beckons to children. I can honestly say I enjoy the interaction with them, and have on many occasions, had the opportunity to invest in them because of my hairless disposition.

Now, none of this helps me know what to put in that blank on my passport application. I guess I'll cling to what once was and put down the color "brown." Maybe I'll use parenthesis after that and say..."bald."



At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Brent,
Your bald head looks good! I noticed in one of your recent photos that you also look younger with a tanned head.

You've probably heard the old joke, "God only made a few perfect heads; the others he covered with hair. . ."

Deer Park, TX

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your cabeza sin pelo. Es mi cabeza favorito! I also know that God gives us different "things" that give us specific tools to use in presenting the gospel! He is mighty even in our apparent failings. How great is our God?!?
Following Him,

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I know why you want me to go to Peru with you!


At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for over a year now and thought this would be a good way to start a prayer chain for some friends of mine. Their little girl,Lydia, was born Aug.3. She had a mass around her bowel, which they removed most of. They are still waiting for the results if it is cancer. Yesterday she had to have more surgery because of an infection. They thought they would be bringing her home in a couple weeks, now it will probably be a couple months. Please pray for her and her parents Randy and Andrea. Thank you for all your prayers. Max


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