Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not Looking Sideways

It was a snatch of a dream, not a whole story with a beginning, a middle and an end. It was just a brief scene of me sitting somewhere in a hotel lobby perhaps. A friend passed by and touched me on the shoulder.  She commented about my hair.

In real life a couple of weeks ago I had visited her salon.  My hair was getting too long and chopping at the fringe was doing nothing to make me feel better.  The man that does my hair was on holiday and I just needed a cut.  It wasn’t all about the fringe or the hair getting too long.  It was about the pampering – the being at the centre of someone’s attention for an hour or two – and coming out of the experience feeling better.

In my dream I think I might have growled at her. What the stylist had done in her salon with all of her years of cutting hair and her access to the best of shampoos and stuff – I couldn’t recreate at home.  It was, I told myself, her fault that my hair was awful. The new style had looked sexy and sassy when I left the salon. A week later it was an impossible mess of sticking-out-in-all-directions-disorder.  I should have listened to my gut and not been talked into a new style.

In real life it was nothing to do with her.  I was the one who put the picture in front of the hairdresser – not my usual bob.  I asked if I had enough hair to make it happen.  I wasn’t that niave to think I would look like the girl in the picture.  She had neat eyebrows and a heart shaped face.

So the stylist chopped away and my usual bob was transformed into something other than my usual bob. It was nice.  I wasn’t raving about it.  Give it a few weeks to settle let grow a bit and I would begin to like it more.  The ladies at the salon agreed between themselves that it was a transformation.

I cannot recreate the style at home.  I have “first day hair” – freshly washed and dried and just a shy short of how it looked in the salon.  Then I have “second day hair” which is an unwashed impossible mess.  Nothing works except a wet brush that flattens everything down to one step away from a paper bag. I don’t want to wash my hair every day.

Of course, these dream things are never about the dream in it literal state.  There is always a layer or two underneath.  My friend looks amazing all the time.  She brims over with confidence. She owns her own business, has a lovely home and a family.  She is flourishing. 

I on the other hand have “second day hair” sticking out in all directions. I rarely brim with confidence.  To say that I am struggling with myself is an understatement.  My home will never grace the pages of an Ideal Home magazine. The garden is looking nice thanks to J Fields and Sons Landscaping.  But, apart from a neat garden, flourishing is not the word that describes my life at the moment.

“Mel-World” isn’t an ordered place at the best of times.  There are bits of Mel-World that I love – my relationship with Jesus, my prayer life and a clean bathroom.  There are lots of bits that I simply put up with because I am too lazy to do anything about it – the messy corners, the ironing pile and the paper confetti next to the paper shredder. 

Sometimes I look at “Marion-World” or “Angela-World” and line them up along “Mel-World” and theirs look so much nicer than mine.  Most of the time I don’t do this but just sometimes I do. In the horse racing world my world has fallen at the first hurdle as they gloriously cross the finish line.

I was reading John 21 this morning.  Peter was just licking his fingers after the fish breakfast as Jesus struck up a conversation.  Peter takes out another contract with Jesus to look after the flock under the difficult years of the coming persecution.  His long term future in the club looks bleak with the possibility of crucifixion.

Peter looked over at John and asked about his future.  Was John going to get the better deal?  Did Jesus have a soft spot for John and was giving him an easier ride?

I look over at Marion’s world or at Angela’s and ask the same kind of questions.  From where I am standing it looks like they have the better deal.  They don’t seem to struggle like I do.  I know Jesus doesn’t have favourites but from where I am standing…it looks like He does.

Jesus basically told Peter that what happened to John was none of his business.  Peter had his own Jesus-appointed destiny just as John had his own story to live. Looking sideways at John meant that Peter was not looking forwards at his own challenges.  Looking sideways at John meant that he was not looking at Jesus.

Jesus is telling me, too, to stop living my life looking sideways at other people.  I have my own Jesus-appointed destiny.  It’s not a vague mystery to me.  If I need to look anyway other than on the road ahead I should be looking, not at Marion or Angela, but at Jesus.

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