tonight, i found myself in a situation that happened often in college. i was standing in the bathroom with clippers in my hand getting ready to give someone a haircut. no one could have prepared me for cutting my wife's hair though. we decided that we would not let cancer steal one ounce of dignity or strength from jenny while we watched her hair slowly disappear from the effects of chemotherapy. we were going to meet this head on, and we would claim the victory ourselves.
i have tried to understand and comprehend what a huge step this was in our battle against cancer. as a man, i don't think that i am completely able to understand what it is like for any woman, much less a beautiful woman, to shave off her hair. as a man, there are a few things about me that make me feel like a man: providing for my family, being able to rattle off meaningless sports statistics without thinking, playing sports, inhaling massive quantities of food with other guy friends like we're in a competition, etc. for a woman, there are so many unfair social expectations and stereotypes that they have to fit into to be "beautiful". hair, makeup, and things of that nature happen to be some of those. i wasn't quite sure how jenny would take shaving off all of her hair.
her brother, jed, and sister-in-law, elizabeth, sat and shared in a special moment for us. with a smile on her face, and laughter on her lips, she pulled her hair back and just started cutting. no hesitation. no remorse. no thinking. just cutting. never once did she complain, never once did she ask why, and never once did she let that smile leave her face. after she finished cutting, it was my turn to do the shaving.
i hesitate to post this, because it was one of the most intimate moments i've experienced as a married man, and i almost want to keep it to myself. i began to shave my wife's head, and with every pass of the clippers, she became more and more beautiful to me. i knew i loved my wife, and i knew how drop dead gorgeous she is, but nothing could prepare me to fall in love with her more and find myself thinking how beautiful she was as something we in society deem "necessary to beauty" fell to the floor. as everything was stripped away, i could not help but see even more clearly every virtue, every ounce of character, and every bit of faith she carries that attracted me to her in the first place.
i thank God for this challenge. i thank God for strength and peace through turmoil. but most of all, tonight, i thank God for my wife.
tomorrow (thursday) we start chemo. it's go time. --john