Covering Our Baldness

In the Garden of Eden, after the fall, Adam and Eve realized they were naked, and so they hid from the Lord. Like scared children they realized that they had disobeyed the Father and attempted to hide in their shame.

By the time you read this, I will have survived my first few weeks as a bald man. As I continue to reflect on humility and my own experience of God’s mercy and grace, I realize that, like me, many of us experience “baldness” of one kind or another. This baldness is something that we want to hide from others, much like I did with my artificial hair and as Adam and Eve did in the garden. In my own experience, I imagined that people would not accept me if they knew the truth of my hair loss. I imagined that I “needed” hair in order to be liked or accepted.

We might imagine our worst fear. What if the people at my bridge club knew that I dye my hair? What if the guys at the golf league found out that I feel so self-conscious when I stand at the tee that I nearly faint? What if my friends at school discovered that I have a learning disability and that it takes me twice as long to learn things? The truth of our lives is that we are formed in the image and likeness of God. God is perfect, but we are not. You and I are flawed, dented up a bit, worn and in need of repair; yet God loves us just as we are—warts and all!

Our psalm this weekend invites us to taste and see the goodness of the Lord. We can know and experience God in all that surrounds us, and it is good! The world invites us to “taste and see” as well, but in a different way. Our society encourages us to live life to the full, thinking only of ourselves and our own wants. We see magazine covers filled with artificial perfection. The truth is that the picture on the cover of the magazine has been enhanced to make us believe the model has perfect hair, teeth and complexion. This is false and deceptive and has led many people to strive for a perfection that doesn’t exist.

As I shared my planned retirement of my hair system with people at work, I received many encouraging emails. One of my good friends talked about the freedom that would come with not having to be concerned with my appearance.   Another friend reminded me that I am loved for who I am, not how I look. Others applauded my courage in stepping out without hair. It seemed that when I accepted my own baldness, others accepted it as well, and we could face it together. Maybe there is a lesson for all of us here.

I suspect the experience of our own sinfulness is a lot like my acceptance of my baldness. I was trying to hide behind artificial hair. Those around me knew that it wasn’t real, but I pretended it was, in order that I wouldn’t have to face this flaw in my appearance. I have had similar experiences with sin. Like you, I fall (a lot!), and I am constantly in need of God’s forgiveness. I have learned over many years that hiding from God when I have sinned is not the path to healing. It is when I face my sin, confess it and receive God’s mercy, that I can proudly step out of the confessional, as a child forgiven and healed.

God wants to love us in our baldness. If you and I can bring our faults, worries and insecurities to the Lord, we can allow Him to heal us, as only He can. I will admit that stepping out in faith is scary. Most of what I worried about never came to pass. People didn’t snicker when I walked past, as I imagined they would. Instead, they embraced “the new me” and accepted and loved me. Humility is about accepting our bald spots. Humility is not trying to cover up those things that we don’t like about ourselves, but it is accepting them and even embracing them!

If the “biggest chicken in Prescott, Wisconsin” and the “bald deacon from Little Canada” can accept our weaknesses, perhaps you can as well? The truth is that Father Steven never imagined he would stand before a congregation and give a homily, and I never imagined that I could give up my artificial hair and walk proudly the way God made me!

Today we are invited to taste and see the goodness of our God. Let’s celebrate the goodness of our God in all that He has created, and let’s not be afraid to accept our own baldness, in whatever form that might be for each of us.

God loves you so much!

Deacon Tim

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