The other day I got my hair cut.
Now, that probably doesn’t sound too exciting to all of you. Hair gets cut. Tresses get trimmed. Sideburns get shaved. (Of course, I don’t have sideburns, but you get the point.) No matter who we are or how old we are, our hair sometimes need attention to keep it healthy.
One fact to know: I hadn’t gotten it cut since November. Being that it’s now February, I could tell that it was frequently getting hard to control. My stylist pointed out the hair in the back had been broken off, and I could tell that the hair near my face was splitting. No longer was my hair healthy, and I had to make the time to get it trimmed.
Keeping my hair at the longer length was, basically, a stumbling block for my hair to be healthy. My hair would never be in its healthiest state if I kept trying to grow it without cutting it.
Jesus never speaks of hair cuts or even hair very often. But Jesus does mention cutting off one’s limbs if they are causing the entire body, mind and soul to be unhealthy:
‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell., And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
I’m not exactly sure if Jesus literally meant cut off a limb or poke out an eye. But obviously, Jesus felt that we need to rid ourselves of unhealthy attachments at times. And, yes, sometimes it is a drastic as cutting off piece of ourselves as crucial as an arm or leg.
(Personally, I like to a little less dramatic analogy – much like trimming the split ends from our hair.)
So now that we’re in Lent, what will we trim from our lives so that we are healthier people? During this journey, what will we expel from our lives?
Will it be that “friendship” that is bringing us down?
Will it be boxes of things we no longer need but is taking space?
Will it be activities in our lives for which we no longer have passion but we feel that we SHOULD continue with that activity?
According to something I read online, the average person only has 29, 200 days of life. And that’s if we live until 80. This number may seem like a lot of days, but when we look at how many days have gone by, it’s very eye opening. We ask ourselves “how we will live the rest of our days?” When I calculate that I’ve lived about 15,500 days, over half of my life could be complete. What will I do with the rest? What can I rid myself of so that the rest of my days are open to the call of God?
Will I rid myself of fears so that I can live more fully?
Will I rid myself of things so that I will have more space to enjoy?
Will I rid myself of hurtful past memories and find forgiveness so that I can live more freely into the future?
Will I rid some unhealthy behaviors – like too many cookies or fried foods – so that I can live a healthier life?
This is what Lent is about: working to become our best selves in relation to God and one another. It’s examining the twists and turns of life with sober judgment and as we try to grow in body, mind and soul.
So, as you find time for your next haircut, what will you be cutting from your life to make it healthier? What will you release from your life so that your 27,000-31,000 days are more meaningful to you and those you love?