Monday, March 15, 2010

"Vanity, thy name is woman."

5:08 p.m. Today's project was to get my hair straightened by my trusty hairdresser Irene, who's super quick and knows my hair better than I do!
This was no ordinary procedure--this semi-annual ordeal takes 2 1/2 hours, so I packed a lunch. Irene works with a flat iron for as long as she can, as close to the roots as she can, but those roots get harder and harder to handle as the months go by. Not to mention that since the roots suddenly have 2 inches of length added to them, she has to put a semi-permanent rinse on the pure white hair suddenly exposed. (Next time I'll get a picture of that scary sight, something like a striped skunk on my head!) Yes, my hair, if left alone, would be completely white by now. As a believer, I have to be completely truthful, according to Psalm 51:6: "You desire truth in the inward parts." So that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
I've often thought of organizing my girlfriends to let our hair go white all at the same time--wouldn't that be a kick? No one would know us! Guess I'll wait until my younger pals hit 60 a few years after I do, and see what they think. Wonder if there'll be any takers?
My hairdresser suggested that I take a Bendryl to lessen the scalp reaction to the burning lye-- maybe in these modern times it's only a wee bit milder than that--so, having taken my doctor's advice last week about having it handy for bee stings, I popped a couple. You'll soon see why hindsight would have said, "just take 2 Advil."
The scorching cream went on very smoothly, no worse than I was prepared for, and I kept calm by praying my hair wouldn't all just fall out (which has been known to happen, ladies, though not to me yet), and reading, yes, another Amish novel. Just enough drama to keep it interesting, and it pointed to faith in God for strength, so it made for a nice soothing read! I actually thought, as my head sizzled with fire, that I do not want to go to hell!! And I'm so glad I am not. Nor does anyone have to--just call on the Name of Christ for salvation!! See Romans 10:13!
10 minutes crawled by. Finally, it was time to rinse it off, have a very mild shampoo and a miraculous product called Reginol applied to cool the fire. I had survived, but then a very odd feeling came over me: dizziness and almost nausea. What now? I mentally demanded, while keeping up my end of the conversation. I wouldn't want Irene to be worried so we talked about the two people we could think of who own giant built-in Wolf Sub-Zero refrigerators. There's some trivia for you! But then I was feeling almost faint, and mentioned it to Irene. She noticed I hadn't had my lunch, so she led me over to the lunchroom in the back and had me wait there for the color to finish "taking." Good suggestion...I mixed up and ate my fresh-picked salad with Ranch dressing and chicken breast pieces, with those neat crispy onion toppers, opened my half-sized Diet 7-Up, ending up with a few cocoa roast almonds mixed with glazed pecans and walnuts, and began to perk back up.
Guess you don't take Benadryl on an empty stomach! Finding myself at the blowdry/style stage, I noticed a very elderly lady walking over to the next chair, her perm solution having been rinsed off after a long wait. She wryly asked, "What's that sayng? 'Vanity, thy name is woman' ?" [This quote is attributed to William Shakespeare, but the correct quote from Hamlet is "Frailty, thy name is woman." I didn't write it, so don't shoot the messenger!] The upshot is, that we women can expect to go to tortuous and costly lengths to get our hair just right well into our eighties--that lady is almost 90 years old, her hairdresser later told us!
When the scriptures talk about vanity, a word most prominently used by Solomon in Ecclesiastes, it refers to worldly foolishness, trivial pursuits, material things and activities with only transitory value. "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity," he wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:2. And many of us do spend time on pursuits that give no lasting satisfaction and often disappoint us in the end, such as insisting on wearing the latest fashions, or following reality tv's overnight celebrities who invariably crash and burn. We just need to make sure that our lives, our own "real lives," as Colossians 3:3 puts it, "are hidden with Christ in God."
And grounded in what is truly worthwhile--the lifelong pursuit of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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