Have you ever witnessed one of those off-road hair salons (the “Glory-to-God” or “Satana-walephera” kind of salons?)? Located beside the market place, the smell of tomatoes and freshly picked vegetables fume the air as clients walk in and out. With paint half peeling off the walls, one has to beg the unanimous question: can anything good come out of these modern day “Nazareths?” Yet, amid their uncanny appearance comes forth an unexpected artistry. Hair. Each twist, braid and lock structures an alluring pattern of beauty. The hair dressers (Aunt Rose or amayi-a-Monica) passionately rub in their glycerin oils and Revlon as the strands of mesh wait patiently on the table. Within hours (or subjectively days) they step back and behold their handiwork. The long hours, intermittent Fanta breaks and hearty conversations brew the near perfect “hair experience.” Can anything good come out of those Nazareths you ask? The answer is obvious.
There is something about a woman’s hair. If you step into any male barbershop you will find a multiplicity of celebrity cuts and shaves pasted across the walls. Any honest man will tell you that there are really only two options at hand: brush cut and brush cut two-point-o (on a good day we may add a “seda”). On the other side of the fence, however, lies a whole different ball game. Take a walk through your community. Brown, black, gold, white and sometimes purple. Straight, curly, wavy and kinked. Whether relaxed or permed, there is a natural inclination (no pun intended) to tender to this delicate fabric. By no twisted conduct (every pun intended) do I wish to sound chauvinistic or misinformed. My honest observation over the years has witnessed the amiable care and value that many women take with regards to their hair (me walking in the rain is really inconsequential). I’d like to believe that I and my fellow brothers appreciate the sheer attention that is taken to this delicate fabric (it does not go unnoticed). But what if I told you that your head of hair should mop the dusty floor? What would your reaction be? Besides, would you want to sabotage your hair game for a dusty floor- let alone rain?
“Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair…” – John 12:3
We all value something. Irrespective of gender, we all have things that we hold dear to. Our hearts inclinations to the things we adore cause us to guard the very objects of our love with intense passion. But what if the thing you love- the very thing you love the most- took a step down from the pedal-stool for the sake of something else? I am not talking about hair. I am not talking about your loved one. I am not even talking about money. I am talking about you. What often holds us back from giving our all to God is often not what we think (the rest are mere distractions). What keeps us at bay from the very depths of God is ourselves.
“…I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself…” – Paul
Mary saw something that many had yet to see. Mary did not just see a man. She did not just see a miracle worker or teacher. In the face of Jesus Christ she saw God. It was then, and only then, that she reckoned her most valuable asset (herself) as nothing in the face of God-incarnate. It was then, and only then, that she considered all things loss (her hair included). It was then, and only then, that she was able to thrust away, with holy passion and devotion, what she held dear: her hair. God is not beckoning us to cut our locks nor is He asking us to throw away our material possessions. What He is primarily asking of us is us: to cut ourselves from ourselves; to let Him fill each crack and crevasse. For it is only then that we get to both know and experience His fullness. For it is only then that we get to know and experience the invaluable: Jesus Christ.
At His Feet…