I’m a little ashamed to admit this but a few weeks ago when I went to get a haircut in my normal place I saw that they had a special offer on ‘eyebrow shaping’ so I asked about it. I’m not at my most comfortable in a hair salon; the highly-groomed stylists, the mysterious potions and all the make-up make me feel a bit out of place. So even asking the question in the first place took a bit of courage.
What made this require even more bravery is the fact that I’ve always felt a bit self conscious about my eyebrows – feeling they looked a bit more like orange-ish caterpillars than an elegant face-enhancing feature. I also have a memory from a long time ago of a friend saying my eyebrows could do with being improved. (I think I’ve forgiven them now.)
So as I waited in the salon, a glamorous young stylist in her early 20s came over and shone a bright light on my face and said, ‘I can’t do anything to make your eyebrows look better. They are already beautiful.’
I couldn’t believe it.
Surely this isn’t how beauty salons work?
The reason I share this story (and please don’t go scrutinising my eyebrows to see if you agree) is to say that I will remember that stylist and her kind words. I was feeling vulnerable and she completely surprised me with her kindness. It transforms us when this happens.
I’ve just read a poem called ‘The Lucky Sad’ by Eugene Peterson that is based on some of surprising and paradoxical things Jesus said about being blessed when you’re at the end of your rope, when you feel you’ve lost, when you care enough to be sad – even when people put you down (Matthew chapter 5).
A line in the poem that has stayed with me is:
‘…every hurt is a fossil link in the great chain of becoming’
I can’t really say anything about anyone else’s hurt, but I know in my own experience that there is a peace that comes on the other side of pain and that forgiveness is a gift that God can give us. Life can be quite an up and down adventure and sometimes we manage the rollercoaster better than other times. What would the journey be like if we let God’s light shine on us and heard God’s words? You are already beautiful.