If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know my blogging comes in waves that follows the seasons and patterns of life. During 2014, I didn’t blog as regularly here but that is in large part because I’ve also been blogging ever other week for our church, Wilshire Baptist Church (http://www.wilshirebc.org/) on the Wilshire Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wilshirebc).
My favorite blog post and one of my favorite experiences or relationships of 2014 is the friendship I have built with my hairstylist “Misty.” I wrote about our friendship back in September in a post “When a haircut is not just a haircut” (https://www.facebook.com/notes/wilshire-baptist-church/when-a-haircut-is-not-just-a-haircut/10154568612825317).
This past Saturday, I got my last haircut of 2014. As usual, I was there a few minutes before Great Clips opened and as usual, Misty welcomed me in and told me she was just about ready for me. I took my seat in her chair and we picked up our conversation like we had just talked yesterday, not a month ago during my last haircut.
She told me about moving in to the new home she is renting, her new to her pre-owned car she bought as a Christmas gift to herself, a 2004 Nissan 350Z, and how her granddaughter was doing. I wish you could have seen her eyes light up as she told me how well 2014 was ending up for her. She said it had been a hard year but she was optimistic headed into 2015.
Naturally we talked about Christmas and family. If you read my previous post about Misty you know she has a broken relationship with her adopted family. Her adopted father happens to be a conservative Texas pastor who has disowned her. When she was in her late teen years she tracked down her biological father and mother. Both of them told her they wanted nothing to do with her. Needless to say, the holiday’s are a different experience for Misty, her daughter, and granddaughter. There is no invite to visit for Christmas, no phone call wishing her and her family a Merry Christmas, not even a Christmas card. Misty said she still calls her adopted parents to say Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. She leaves them a message. There is no Merry Christmas phone call in return. Not even a text message. That breaks my heart.
As I’ve said previously, Misty will most likely never walk through the doors of a church again. She has been burned one too many times by the church and those who claim to be Christians. Yet, somehow, by the grace of God, she welcomes me into her life and story each month when she welcomes me into her barber’s chair. I’m honest with her, she knows Heather and I are both ministers. I let her know that our lives and families are messy too. We show one another what psychologist Carl Rogers calls “unconditional positive regard.” I call it just trying to live in the Way of Jesus. I think Misty lives more like Jesus than many Christians I know. I know she is Jesus to me more than many people I interact with on a regular basis.
At the end of my haircut, I gave Misty an end of the year tip. She thanked me and said she looks forward to our talks every month. I had to fight back tears as she told me this. I told her I looked forward to it as well. She said see you in two weeks? I saw no, it’ll probably be about a month, I’ve got to stretch it out as long as I can. With disappointment on her face, she said, alright, I guess you’re gonna make me wait to talk with you. I should probably just get my hair cut more often. As my dad would say, I’m her minister of last resort. Maybe I’m her life line to Jesus? Or perhaps she is my Jesus life line? My friendship with Misty is one of my greatest honors of 2014. I am a better person and a better chaplain because of Misty. I look forward to continuing in friendship with her in 2015.
For “Misty” and all the Misty’s of the world, I say thanks be to God. May God bless them and keep them. May God’s face shine upon them and may God be gracious to them.
Here are the last few blog posts I wrote for Wilshire in 2014. Enjoy!
A lesson in going without: https://www.facebook.com/notes/wilshire-baptist-church/a-lesson-in-going-without/10154826259440317
Too (fill in the blank) to be a good neighbor: https://www.facebook.com/notes/wilshire-baptist-church/too-fill-in-the-blank-to-be-a-good-neighbor/10154781962220317
Brothers and sisters, we are the church: https://www.facebook.com/notes/wilshire-baptist-church/brothers-and-sisters-we-are-the-church/10154732759460317