Locks Of Love, The Braid
The red, gold and brown colors from the braid of hair lay shimmering in my hands. I will admit there are a few silver strands interwoven with the other colors. I always did like the color of my hair, but now the 14 to 16 inch braid laid in my hand, no longer attached…to me and destined for Locks of Love!
Growing my hair long in the past and cutting if off was never an issue for me. I have grown much older now and more educated in the ways and laws of faith and spirituality, that the cutting this time was a serious thing.
Surfing the net for all possible ideals of what hair means and its purpose in life, I decided my cutting was justified in the end. I never knew there were so many thoughts on hair and it’s sacredness.
Long ago the higher class Egyptians shaved their heads to keep cool and free of diseases, but wore wigs of black flowing hair. In the East Orient the monks would take a sacred vow and for a year not cut their hair or groom it in any way. When the year was over, they shaved their heads to announce the end of their sacrifice.
There are conflicting issues in the Bible about hair. Some say to keep clean and trim for the men, but the women should never cut their hair for it displays vanity to do so. Yet, if disease was evident, like in leprosy, then God instructed the people to shave their heads. In many cases with the Bible, you have to take in consideration who these letters and books were written to and what was their objective.
In some Native American Indian traditions, the hair is very sacred. It is believed to be every part of you. Inside each strand is your essence and every experience you have every had. It is still practiced among some the traditionalist today, to daily collect your hair from your brush and keep it in a safe place. When a year went by, you took this sacred mess of tangle hair and burned it.
It has only been less than 60 years that women can freely cut their hair and they are not judged by the action. Even though bob and pixie cuts are now seen often, if a woman with long hair goes to cut it all off, both men and women are still deeply disturbed by this choice. Long hair seems to have a mysticism about it. The long strands are like magic!
Long hair is always adored. The flowing locks. The lights bouncing off the curls or the soft folds of straight strands. The silkiness. The patience and commitment in growing the length.
Patience and commitment. Those two words express how I feel about my hair. My hair grows fast, but still at just above shoulder length, it will take five years to grow to the length of this now cut braid laying in my hands. The commitment of nourishing the locks during the growth, keeping the hair manageable, can be testy at times, but a commitment I will walk through again.
A few years ago, a friend and his son went to a children’s hospital to visit and share some stories and song. They both had full heads of hair and well past their shoulder blades. Most of these children were undergoing kemo treatment and did not have hair. After the hospital visit, my friend and his son both cut their hair for the Locks of Love. They shared the magic.
Recently, I have met a woman who has beaten the odds of cancer. She currently wears a wig, however, she is just now growing stubs of hair. The other day she was so excited to discover she was growing eyebrows again! To see the joy in her face touched my heart. She was not only feeling magical, but she was regaining her very essence.
It takes approximately 10 to 15 braids like mine to make one single wig. As I deposit my braid into the envelope addressed to Locks of Love, I pray that others are willing to sacrifice a bit of their essence in order to share the magic with the children of cancer.
So here is to another five years of patience and commitment. When my hair is long again and Locks of Love will take it, I am sure I will be willing to sacrifice a bit of myself and share the magic one more time.