Over the last few weeks, my hair has decided to part on the left side, allowing me to style by sweeping the bulk of it to the right. Some may ask, “Laura, what’s the big deal with how it parts?” Well, you see, on the left side of my noggin is a large concentration of gray hair. And when my hair parts on the left, those gray and silver threads are more apparent than when it parts on the right. This doesn’t bother me because I like my gray hair. I choose to think that God is my personal hairdresser and is a generous highlighting specialist.
I generally take no notice of those who believe I should reach for the bottle of Lady Somebody or Other. Still, folks will say what they will say. To tell the whole truth, there are times when I have to steel myself against the onslaught of opinions maintaining that, at all costs, we must disguise the dreaded aging process.
Some days, however, I hear from the other camp – the one I live in. That camp embraces and acknowledges the beauty of aging. Today was one of those days. As I greeted my pastor, at church, she remarked, “I love your hair. What are you doing differently? It just looks beautiful.”
I told her my hair has recently been parting itself on the left. That shows more of the gray and makes me look as if I have a completely different hair style. I also told her that I love to show off my gray threads among the jet black locks that still remain. We laughed for a few seconds about my hair’s attempt to convince us that, in fact, some things in life truly are just black and white.
Then Pastor Ashley made an extraordinary comment. She said my hair does not just reflect black and white. She noted there are all sorts of silver and gray tones mixed in with the darker strands and presenting themselves in various patterns. Her eyes twinkled with a new discovery as she shared her epiphany with me.
She said, “Laura, isn’t it wonderful that as we age, we are granted the wisdom of knowing that life is never just black and white, but filled with varying shades and patterns of diversity? And how cleaver God is to teach that lesson by giving us a crown of truth on the crown of our bodies. I appreciate how you embrace your aging process. I hope you will always see the beauty of this graceful crown as a gift demonstrating wisdom and enlightenment. Those treasures are rarely bestowed on people in the throes of youth.”
I love my pastor. What’s more, I agree with her totally on this. My gray hair, by my light, is a shining example of transition as a woman, as a person, and as a child of God. I know, I know what some may be thinking. Our culture says women are supposed to do everything we can to obtain and retain Hollywood-prescribed appearances. As we age, we are encouraged to spend time and money on a daily retro-reach in attempt to reclaim something we will never again have – our youth. Personally, I have no opinion one way or another on other people’s physical appearance choices. I honor the choices of everyone, and it is not my business to question or pass judgment. But I choose to, as my pastor said, embrace my aging process and sport a crown constructed from life’s experiences and transitional wisdom.
So, call me a maverick. It’s been said before. Call me a rebel. Some have used that word when referring to me. Tell me I look old. I don’t see “old” as a four-letter word or the calendar as my enemy. Let me just say that for me, for now, and for the foreseeable future, I’m hoping my hair will continue parting on the left.
Laura L. Padgett
2013, Lakewood, CO