I am reluctantly 35 years old.
I hit my last birthday kicking and screaming because it seems that for the past 4 generations, every woman in my family has had a daughter at that age. With my fertility issues and overwhelming pessimism, I knew this was not to be for me so that day marked a day of mourning. But that is not where I am going with this.
People have always assumed I am younger than I am. My first year of teaching, I was asked to show a hall pass at the high school. I still occasionally get carded. This kind of youthful appearance is quite a blessing in many ways, but it sets you up for an event of catastrophic proportions – the discovery of the first gray hair.
For me, this event happened this past Tuesday in Lowes. This is my husband's and my secondary house of worship. Home and hospitality are very important to us and wandering Lowes' many aisles provides hours of entertainment and nurtures hopes and dreams. We rarely leave with anything, but occasionally I will find the most amazing mistinted paint for 4.99 that was meant for my house but not for someone else's and occasionally it even makes it to the walls.
Tuesday was just an ordinary day – we had agreed to meet at Lowes after work for a couple of plumbing supplies and I was running ahead of the schedule. I popped into the restroom and when I was washing my hands I caught sight of a silver gleam. That can't be!! I leaned in closely and looked again. There it was – one lone silver streak. A million things went through my mind and right there I came to the realization that youth is passing and life is not forever.
I waited for my husband to arrive and hoped that my eyes had deceived me. I said Do you see it??? The gray hair smack dab in the middle of my head? I tried to make light of it, but I think he could detect that I was a little upset. He combed through my hair with his fingers. YANK! Nope. I don't see it.
He handed it to me. I stood there fingering it – almost meditating over it – pondering whether to save it and bemoaning the fact that time is rushing on and I have not accomplished much of what I want to do in this world. I must have stood there in my own world processing this new event for 5 minutes while my husband rummaged through water filters.
It took about 24 hours but a new perspective emerged. That hair is not a bad thing per se. It represents years of happy times, sad times, family, friends, and general living – it represents painful losses and joyful gains. I actually uttered several prayers of thanksgiving yesterday – thanking God that I had made it to the point where I might have a gray hair – many people don't live to find their first gray hair and here I was sadly resenting the half empty glass it signified. I am thanking God today for the breath in my lungs and the gifts He has given me, knowing full well that He will continue to bless me, not because I deserve, but because that is just His nature.
Oh and by the way, I didn't save it, I mean…it really was JUST a gray hair.