The Power of Prayer, or The Day My Hair Exploded
We thick-haired women learn early in our lives that peace with our hair is best kept if we allow it to do what it wants. Years ago, I quit trying to part it against its will, or maintain a long, straight, shiny, curtain of hair flowing down my back. My hair does not like to do these things. And I’m OK with that.
Also early in life, I discovered a key problem with thick hair. It’s hot. Not hot in a sexy kind of way, but hot in a sweaty-masses-of-hair-matted-against-the-back-of-my-neck-in-the-dead-of-a-Texas-summer kind of way. So in hot weather, I put it up. This works best if I can twist all my hair onto the back of my head and secure it with a large clip. They don’t actually make clips that can handle my hair, so I buy the ones that are available and use them until my hair breaks them. I’ve had clips pop into pieces right off the back of my head. I’ve had them sadly and quietly crumble into a defeated pile of wire springs and plastic teeth on my bathroom floor. I sweep up the remains, apologetically brush them into the trash, and head to the store to purchase the next victim.
One Sunday morning about 15 years ago, Chad and I were sitting in a worship service at A&M Church of Christ in College Station, Texas. It was summertime, and I had hot-rolled my hair and secured the curls with a large clip on the back of my head, safely and comfortably off the back of my neck. Wearing a floral summer dress, I thought I looked quite elegant. (Vanity tends to be a downfall of mine that has resulted in all kinds of public disasters, but I refuse to give it up.) At the end of the service, a hush fell over the congregation of 1,200 as the closing prayer began. As the prayer leader earnestly implored God for blessings and healing and other things that truly mattered, I felt something begin to move in the back of my hair. As the springs emitted tiny pops and my hair began to loosen, the horror of what was about to happen in this silent, reverent gathering hit me. This hair clip was going to give up the ghost, and it was going to happen.
My prayerful thoughts turned from the sick and the hurting to my own dire situation.
“Please, God, please,” I begged. “Keep this clip together until church is over.”
The prayer leader continued on as I felt the tension growing in my hair. If I could only make it to the end, the imminent explosion could happen in a much less noticeable manner. The leader’s “amen” was my finish line, and I focused on it, willing my clip to stay intact with every ounce of mental energy I could muster.
Finally, the prayer began to wind down. The leader uttered the long-awaited “amen,” and in the second of silence that followed, my hair clip exploded with such force that I heard gasps. I cautiously opened my eyes to see tiny springs and pieces of plastic teeth raining down on the people all around me. I was afraid the people sitting behind me had received the worst of it, so I turned around to face a wide-eyed woman, frozen in her seat.
“What was that?” she panted. I think she thought she had been shot at.
“My hair clip exploded,” I meekly explained.
There were several pieces of the clip that never made it out of my hair, so I brushed them out when I got home. One more tiny spring fell out and pinged its way across my bathroom floor.
Then I got in the car, drove to the store, and brought home a bag of my hair’s next victims.