Rector's Ramblings May 10, 2017
Apparently we need to talk about my hair. I had no idea that growing my hair out a bit would be cause for conversation, and yet it keeps coming up. People have wondered what was different about me. I have been asked if I am dyeing my hair (I’m not). I’ve been asked if I lost weight (I wish). And I’ve heard an ongoing debate about whether longer hair makes me look older or younger (younger is winning out). I’ve also had people randomly reach out and touch my hair, which is a new experience for me. I had no idea.
So let me explain what led to this. I had to grow my hair out to portray Bob Hope at the Symphony Society Cabaret fundraiser back in February. Hope had long locks that he slicked back, which is the look I was going for. That meant I had to forgo a couple of my routine haircuts that typically come every three weeks. Then, after the fundraiser when it was time to go get my hair cut, I was sick and had to cancel the appointment. I decided to let it go and see what would happen. That’s it. There was no plan. I think I ended up going nearly four months without a haircut, which is probably the longest I’ve gone without a haircut. Ever.
Yes, it got really wild there for a while, as I let it go to see what would happen. But, I’m going back to the three week trim routine, simply leaving it a bit longer. Because it’s longer it looks darker, but I assure you, I have plenty of gray hairs, hairs I didn’t have when I came to Saint Simons. Just kidding. Sort of. But seriously, I simply decided to try something different after having the same haircut for many years. Sometimes trying something different can be good for us.
I tend to be a creature of habit. When I go to restaurants, I often order from a small number of items that I have previously enjoyed. When it’s a new experience, a first time in a restaurant, I experiment, and once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. I also tend to sit in the same place when I go to church. I don’t mean when I preside, although I tend to sit in the same places then, too. But when I am attending worship in another church, I tend to sit on the same side (left) midway up the sanctuary. I don’t know why, other than that’s where we sat when I was growing up. When I wash the car I always start at the same place and do things in a certain order. That’s how my brain works, I suppose.
Just know that as odd as it is for you to see me with a different haircut, it’s more odd for me when I look in the mirror. It’s been more than a dozen years since I had a different hairstyle, and I saw the old one a lot more than you did. But, it’s been interesting to do something different. Doing something different can change our perspective. I think I look different too. I don’t always do the same things and I do make sure I try new things from time to time, too. I actually recommend it, even if I still have my ways for some things.
For example, sitting at the back of the church is a very different experience than sitting in the front. Sitting in the front makes the connection to the liturgy much more personal and intimate in some ways. We can forget that we’re a part of a larger gathering. And when we sit in the last row, we have no choice but to notice all the people we are sharing the space with, all the people who bow and kneel with us. I had a chance to sit in the choir pews for X Church last week and it was a very different experience, let alone view. It’s amazing how much changing location can affect worship.
It’s not bad to have routines and to stick with things. Change for the sake of change isn’t necessarily a noble or good thing, but it’s not bad either. We all get caught up in our bubbles and habits, which can shrink our lives and our world down more than we might imagine. Try something different and see how it goes. You may not want to experiment with tattoos or other permanent actions, but I’m sure you can find something that won’t be too scary. Remember, hair grows back, or can be cut, depending on what you’re trying to undo.
O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.