Thursday, March 18, 2010

beauty is skin deep

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


  1. I just heard about your current circumstances and my heart aches for you.

    John, thank you for sharing that intimate moment. You have encouraged and inspired me as a husband.

    May our Father richly bless you both as you bless others by sharing your hope,

    Vince Brooks (IUCSF 1996-2000)

  2. All the years Debbie prayed for God's provision for her children, for Jenny and Jed, for the spouses He had chosen for them, and for their futures, have been answered, as always, above and beyond what we could dream or imagine. Thank you, God, for John, and for Elizabeth, and for their love for you and for Jenny and Jed. We continue to pray for each of you! Love you...Teresa and Ed

  3. Wow! What a powerful statement! Jenny, I admire the way you wear your faith and courage on your sleeve. We all need to be more like you! My prayers are with you as your begin this next chapter of your journey! John, thank you for sharing your intimate moment with Jenny, with all of us. Praying for you both,

  4. John, what a beautiful post. I'm so proud of the faith you both are sharing. Love you both.

  5. There are no words...

  6. John and Jenny - the depth of your relationship truly shines through. You will be in our thoughts and prayers always and especially tomorrow. Please let us know if there is ANYTHING we can do to assist.
    Allen and Amy Bridgeman

  7. Beautiful!...In SO many ways!

  8. When I saw my son-in-law after last night's hair-cutting "party," he said, pointing to himself and laughing, "now isn't this what you always dreamed your daughter would marry?" He had left himself with a temporary mohawk, which he knew I would not like. I've thought a lot about that question. I've decided that if he was asking if I hoped and prayed for someone who loves God with his whole heart, loves my daughter more than life, who would walk with her along a tough path, but encourage her to laugh along the way - even though he's feeling every bit of her illness right along with her, who doesn't care a whit about what "man" thinks of him, but follows some inner drum that tells him to do weird things to his hair, who would search the world if he had to so that he could bring her the Reeses-pieces blizzard she longed for on the day before her first chemo treatment, who loves her family and supports them always, who would do absolutely anything to make our daughter happy - if that's what he's asking, the answer is yes, that's exactly what I asked God for - and that's exactly what I got. I love you, John.

  9. Jenny is so beautiful. Her shaved head allows each of us to better see her gorgeous eyes from which pours pure love and faith for her Savior, who will be beside both of you as she goes through the treatments from which healing will come. Praying for God to do what He does best ... doing what is best for her according to His plans.
    John, you are an amazing husband and a source of strength for Jenny. God bless you both each and every day.
    ♥ Barbara from FCCM

  10. Jenny and John,
    Nick and I will be praying for you as you move forward on this battlefield. You have such a beautiful heart, Jenny, and I'm so encouraged to read John's post and get a glimpse of the man God prepared for you. Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment, thank you for sharing your heart, and thank you for letting God's grace, love, mercy, strength, and sovereignty shine through you!

  11. John, What a testimony! We will be praying for you and Jenny. Through these struggles, you will find Hope and God will be right there with you. We pray you will draw closer to Him than ever before. Love, Larry and Mandy Renfro

  12. I was thinking about you both at E91 today. I hope this week will be good through God's loving touch.
    God Bless
    Sandra and Tom

  13. Reading your posts is touching and breaking my heart. I've never been close to a cancer surviving experience, so sharing with you and Jenny through this site is painful, unbelievable, funny, educational, but mostly inspiring because of your courage, faith, and love. Thanks for leading us on your path with God. It helps me with mine. Love you and praying for you both. Ava and Dan