I would have to admit that I am probably what is known in the hairdressing trade as a nightmare customer! Two things particularly single me out.
Firstly I am a drifter. I rarely see the same hairdresser twice in a row. I notice people’s hair in a way in which perhaps I am blind to other things. Months, if not years ago, I was standing in the queue at the bank. When it came to my turn, the woman behind the counter had a really nice hair cut. I asked her where she went and she told me the name of the place and the stylist – Emma. I managed to visit Emma twice before Emma moved on to other heads in other salons.
If I particularly broke and in need of a cut and colour and I really can’t make it till pay day, there is a place in town. The average age of the clients is sixty and I tend to have more hair on my head than them and the stylist usually has to pop to the hairdressing shop to get my colour because purple and pink rinses are not what I am looking for!
If I am feeling flush and in need of a cut and colour I will head out of town. There are one or two places that I have been where they cost the earth but they do a good job.
If I simply just in need I head for the nearest salon, the only one in town that has a card written out for me with all the details of previous encounters. The lady that manages that one also runs hairdressing courses at the college, so she allows the newly qualified to build up a bit practice. The question about how long they have been working here is usually met with the answer “This is my second week.” It used to freak me out, but I am consoled that hair grows and paper bags come in all shapes and sizes!
Secondly, the other reason why I probably scare hairdressers comes when I take out the picture and place it on the counter. Despite being something of a wordsmith, describing what I want is difficult, so I have a picture. I don’t demand, “Make me like this!”, but it comes close. I don’t think I have ever been unreasonable. I have the required amount of hair for most pictures I have shown them. I have to say that I can only think of one time when have looked anything like the person in the picture!
So having said all that, I headed to the nearest salon. The girl was just in her second week of the job but…here is the but, the manager was in the shop. The sense of peace that descended was amazing. Knowing that the novice was being watched over every step of the way by the experienced manager made a huge difference to how I felt.
I am sure that is how the man with epileptic boy felt in Mark 9:14-29. The “novices” who had been in the job for not a very long time were unable to cast out the demon. After Jesus comes down from the mountain after the transfiguration, you can almost feel the sigh of relief wash through the father of the boy and the disciples! What they were unable to do, Jesus does.
When Jesus is present with us, there is a confidence in what we and what we say.