No, that wasn’t Julius Caesar proclaiming his victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus in 47 BC, as Plutarch reports in Life of Caesar. It was just Mang Pecto, the Barber of Barrio Buting, a.k.a. the Sweeney Todd of Pateros, admiring his tonsorial artistry after he had clipped Amie’s short crop of hair into a “Number 1” buzz cut.
He was not wielding a Roman broadsword, cutting a bloody swathe across the fields of Zela, but rather an electric hair clipper whose oscillating blades quickly depilated the mane off the landscape of her pate. He sought not to strike fear into the hearts of an enemy horde, but instead to calm the nerves of one who was troubled by her slowly falling hair. The arena was not a killing field scattered with mangled bodies, but our home’s living room where strands of her locks littered the floor.
Just before Amie’s fourth chemotherapy session in 2011, she decided to confront the inevitable and to nip her hair before the toxic medicines did. She felt downcast and forlorn at first, and understandably so, because it had always been her crowning glory. But barely a few days later, both of us just laughed it off as an almost innocuous detail in the overall scheme of things, an inconsequential setback in the real battle against her cancer.
The Bible, at first glimpse, is not filled with encouraging words about hair loss. Most of the references are in the Old Testament, and typically have to do with shaving heads as a sign of mourning or repentance. Baldness is often associated with leprosy or some similar disease, and, in the case of Samson, the loss of strength and power. And Paul’s admonition in addressing the Corinthians is no less disheartening.
“…but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.” 1 Corinthians 11:6
What a joy, therefore, to have seen Amie smile away her troubles and just rely on the comforting assurance of God’s words.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair, and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
What a “shear” delight to know that she was so important to Him that the very hairs on her head were numbered, and that the Lord looked not at her external appearance, but at the inside of her heart.
Amie’s hair eventually grew once more, and when it did, the world again saw a truly wonderful woman whose beauty was always there, but was perhaps obscured by its predilection for superficial attraction rather than the kind of beauty that resides deep within. A bald babe in her childhood, her locks in a smart coiffeur during her grown-up years, and finally ravaged by disease in her waning days, she is home again with the Master Barber in that beauty-salon-in-the-sky, where it all began.