A few days ago, I had my first (in six years!) week day hair cut completely by myself. No kids, no childcare to consider, just me walking into the salon.
To those without small children, this isn’t that big of a deal but to those mamas who have hair dryers collecting dust and hair always pulled back, you understand that a hair cut is a very special treat. My son Luke gets more haircuts than I do with his monthly visits!
It’s been a lovely but busy summer and now that it’s officially autumn, we’ve had a good but intense start to the season. Two book bags, two sets of uniform, two class schedules to keep. There are lots of things to keep on top of but I’ve found myself in that place of a downward spiral where I’m racing against time and the mountain high pile of tasks to get done keeps growing in any given day. I can, ‘Go, go, go,’ for a long while but then it starts to get to me.
Last Tuesday was nearly our tenth day of rainy weather and although I don’t mind grey weather, consecutive days of rain clouds can start turning me into my own emotional rain cloud. Our modern lives are so overcrowded with the pulls of ‘doing’ lots of things. Church things, school things, work things, birthday parties, house upkeep, socialising, extracurricular activities, homework. At the bottom of the list is usually ‘down’ time, if there is any left after everything else. Our mobile devices don’t help either. We send messages all day long and expect quick answers back from people, and get distracted by social media. Can we actually be observant to those around us and live in this moment without needing to know what everyone else is doing?
Poor Charlie and the kids endured a shouting, fussy, grumpy wife and mother who just had had enough of the expectations and living this so called modern life. Luckily for me, Charlie was gracious and treated me to a Chinese takeaway. We know I’ve had a bad day if there’s a Chinese takeaway happening on a Tuesday! After my weekly fix of Great British Bake Off, I was doing Luke’s school application for reception. He’s only been in nursery for a week, yet it’s time to apply for next autumn and full time school! I’m not sure how I feel about that. With my already negative mood, I had more grumpy moments, complaints, and wanting to stop the madness of endless chores and tasks.
But by the morning after, it was a new day. I woke up and I chose to start my day by saying, “Thank you God for….” and numerous things came to mind. Half my battle of the day before stemmed from my own complaining and letting myself dwell on negative aspects. It was a crisp, sunny morning and I felt like God was giving a tangible reminder that the darkness doesn’t last forever…. for joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 65:8)
It was halfway through my hair cut that I started to let go of the tension I’m seemingly always carrying. While sipping my tea and feeling the warmth of the hair dryer as my lovely hairdresser styled my hair, I felt like once again I could just breathe. For a few moments, nothing else mattered and I could sit still. I thought to myself that having a more simplistic, calming attitude would do me much better value then overcomplicating things and rushing about with unnecessary stress all the time. I was never meant to carry so much upon my own shoulders alone.
I was reminded of the hymn we sang on Sunday. Our church is quite on top of all the new and upcoming worship songs but sometimes, going back to a classic hymn is really needed. From Thomas Chisholm’s Great Is Thy Faithfulness, the lyrics which have not left me are, “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” How wonderful to be reminded that no matter what, Jesus will be enough for my todays and carry me through all the tomorrows.
God will be our strength. He will grant us hope in our life’s journey. So take a moment to be quiet despite the craziness, and whatever that stillness looks like, just allow yourself to breathe.
Strength. Hope. Breathe.