WordPress, which is this blog host, has been running a weekly photo challenge with a theme to jog bloggers’ imaginations. This week’s theme is Self-Portrait. Since I’m allergic to having my picture taken (even by me), most of my responses have been off-angles, glimpses, shadows, reflections, and I’ve posted them on my other blog, A View from the Woods. The current photo, though, is actually one taken by my husband, one of the rare ones that I can bear to look at without breaking out in hives. (If you’d like to see it, click here.)
I like it because it features my amazing granddaughter Libby, and in my imagination we two are the Snow Queen (see my gracious queenly wave of the hand?) and the Snow Princess (Libby does it even better). And because it also features my snow-white hair. Since I was 20, I’ve colored my hair the deep red I thought God had always intended it to be, but had absentmindedly forgotten to arrange, letting it default to dirty blonde, or lackluster brown. I even developed a red-headed personality to match. You can imagine, then, my horror to discover in the past couple of years a REAL allergy, this one to hair coloring!
Almost a year of hat-wearing to cover the emerging roots and bi-colored hair, a year of grumbling and regret, only to discover when the process was complete, that I had indeed changed my life — for the better! It felt like at least a minor miracle, something I dreaded had turned out to bring fulfillment. (You can read it about here, on my second post ever on Touch2Touch, It’s the White Hair.)
But as soon as we use the word miracle, I think we’re conditioned to start looking for the supernatural and the supra-natural. At the very least, for the extraordinary. No wonder we find so few! I want to tell you a little story that seems to me a kind of Christmas story, a parable, maybe. Anyway, a kind of everyday miracle, which is the kind that I believe in. Bear with me?
We went recently to a festive Christmas party. I noticed that one of the guests, a vivacious person always active, vivid and lively, looked particularly good.
“Oh, you’ve cut your hair!” I said.
“Well, yes,” she said hesitantly, then added quietly, “Actually I’ve had cancer twice, and my hair is — well — you know, and so I’ve found a new wig, just what I was looking for. I was thinking about your hair, actually.” And then I looked harder, and realized that her hair was now shorter and whiter and styled in what was once called a pixie cut, in which she looks even better than she already had. Our hair could almost be twins! And just as I love my haircut, she loves hers.
I was happy to see her so happy, and I was touched by her story, and I went on thinking about it at home after the party. What came to me was the echo of a common enough saying, “I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” It seemed to me I had never really understood it before.
Once again I realized, hardly for the first time, nor I’m afraid for the last, how lacking I am in gratitude. I grumble over trifles, ignore my many everyday blessings, disregard the miracle of just waking up in the morning. Simple gifts of shoes, and feet, and hair —
This season in several faiths is a time of rejoicing, of festivity. A time of heavenly favors, we might say, for which we are grateful: a savior born, a temple reclaimed. A time of miracles. And my life as it is right now, this very moment is just that, a matter for rejoicing, of festivity.
To whom to say thank you? I don’t know exactly — but if I send my thanks out into the universe I am confident that it will somehow, somewhere be received. Like I said, a Christmas Story, kind of.
Do you believe in miracles? And if so, where do you think they’re found?
I wish all of you the most wondrous of Holiday times!
I really enjoyed this, thank you it’s been my breakfast read. It’s always hair with women isn’t it? Take a peep at my own hair ‘rite of passage’ if you have a moment, http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/a-frizz-eased-mixed-chick/
Have a lovely day and seasons greetings you snowy headed crone!
Snowy headed crone, I LOVE IT!
Joss, of Crowing Crone, is one of my inspirations — although I’m not sure how snowy her head is! I am going to look at your * hair-raising * post right away.
I think we are all lacking in gratitude, and take everyday things so much for granted like waking up in the morning, the air we breathe, and nature in all it’s glory – the list goes on.
Miracles happen every day in our lives but we often don’t see them, so let’s wake up and be grateful for what we have!
I’m sending my thanks out into the universe with yours!
Expanding the gratitude in the universe one by one by …….
And when we forget, as we inevitably do, we can remind each other!
Happy Christmas, sister!
I do believe in everyday-miracles. My hair is a part of my body that I’m actually quite happy with. There was a time, though, when I wished to have the same hair-colour as an Irish Setter, but I never tried. It wouldn’t have been too difficult, there’s a lot of red in my hair …my brother had really red hair.
Now, for the first time since I was fourteen, my hair has reached shoulder length … never had the patience before, to let it grow.
It’s a lovely picture of you and Libby, and it only confirms that you look exactly as I had imagine with my ‘inner vision’.
I’ll think a little more about the two questions 🙂
People always talk about “reading matter”. But I find it really necessary also to have “thinking matter”. I’m glad to know you’ll be thinking about miracles — and adding more good vibes to the universe.
I don’t think we ever see you in current photos — do we? — and I realize now my image of you is actually of a writer I knew years ago, an absolutely marvellous writer, much published, yet who never received quite the public acclaim she deserved. She was smart, and wicked funny, and sometimes tart — we’ve lost touch. Come to think of it, my “inner vision” of inner you is probably pretty accurate. I think, until evidence to the contrary, I’ll give you glorious red hair as well, all the way down to your shoulders!
well … so far, I’ve brought out the tripod and the remote control so … voila!
But you’re just a young thing! How did you get so smart?????????
And with wonderful red(dish) hair all the way down to your shoulders!
Happy and Merry and all good things to you and Gerry (I could have made that rhyme but I’m more into blank verse today 😉
Happy and Merry to you too 🙂
Christmas story absolutely!
P.S., Grey (hair) is the new black! 🙂
Hey, Tree — White (hair) is the new blonde! 😉
Merry and Happy and all good things to you and F and F!!!!!
I too was coloring my hair until I developed an allergy to the hair coloring.
My hair is brunette again, but with a lot of gray in it. At least I have hair. My husband doesn’t have cancer, but he has alopecia and is bald as a result.
I believe miracles are possible, and that I’ve just never had the pleasure of witnessing one… yet.
This is a beautiful post and I’m grateful to have read it today. Happy Holidays!
Thanks so much for the kind words, Theresa.
Wishes to you for a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and any and all other holidays you choose to celebrate! (That could take up 365 days a year if you set out right about it.) ((I bet if you think about it, you might have witnessed a miracle that you didn’t recognize as such … till now.))
J – your hair is beautiful! My mother wanted red hair (she was a tow head with carefully constructed ringlets as a child) so she took a bottle of oxblood shoe polish and managed to coat two of her ringlets before she was caught… her haircut was much like yours afterwards, much to my Memere’s dismay.
As for your questions – here’s my answer. http://writingdownthewords.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-answer.html
Pauline, your list of miracles is WONDERFUL.
Everyone, do check out Pauline’s link to her blog for inspiration, appreciation, and maybe even a quick tear or two.
Wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy New Year of photos and blogging to you and your talented wife Barbara!
You know me and gratitude – I’m a big fan. 🙂 I absolutely agree with you in that if I send out appreciation for all I have, the “right” force(s) will receive it, *and* will recirculate it appropriately. A lovely show of love for the “little” (and not-so-little) things in life.
I think we’re amazingly often on the same page, Stef —
Part of the pleasure of getting to know you through your blog.
(Another part: being surprised by you!)
Life itself is the biggest miracle. Each year we make a round-trip around the sun. Children are born, each Spring nature comes back to life. On a personal level, I have a few, where I’ve been the first person on the spot of accidents, where … had I left a minute earlier, it would have been me.
I also think it’s a miracle of sorts, that Hebrew today is a language that’s alive ‘n kickin’…
Your list runs quite a gamut, Rebekah — from cosmic to real close in, feet on the ground stuff.
Your simple sentence, “Each year we make a round-trip around the sun,” really galvanised me. I mean, here this earth spinning around every day, spinning through the cosmos around the sun, we’re all being carried along dizzyingly in this universe — and I just walk around most of the time like nothing’s happening, everything’s ordinary, boring, even. Amazing!
I asked a friend once, “Do you believe in magic?” and he took so long to respond I know he did not. I think he thought I meant Bewitched magic or Disney magic. What I meant was the magic of serendipity and of synchronicity and of happenstance. Magic? Miracles? I do believe. I do believe. I do believe.
(And…if I may…after all of the glimpses in windows and mirrors, it is great to see all of your beautiful, kind face!)
Following your blog, it’s clear that you believe in magic. In the real thing, that is, as you’ve described it.
I think your magic and my miracles are alike. Probably the same, in fact.
So here’s a holiday toast for us to make, to Magic! To Miracle! For Christmas, Chanukah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, all holiday celebrations — and to the miracle of another year, to 2012!
Cheers, my friend. Salut!
From a zen point of view, I would say that ordinary existence is a great miracle. 😉
* deep bow *
Thank heavens for the blessings of minor irritations when the reality could be so different . . . we do indeed have so much for which to be grateful. I am not a big believer in “miracles” but I am in awe with wonder at the processes which keep life ticking over and us waking up to each new day. Happy New Year and thank you always for the thoughtful kindness of your words.
A Happy New Year to you as well, Patti.
And thank you for your courageous and adventurous exploits — I admire your blog very much, and you even more!
I think my reluctance ( had i been challenged) would be to have found the “right” image. I think it’s a mixture of vanity (i want to look good/cool) together with desire not to look like you’re trying to be all those things. Then there’d be the overthinking – is this funny, or is it cringeworthy, do i look like i’m having fun or a bit of a nut.
Women – complex, introspective creatures!
oh posted on the wrong post, oops, can you cut and paste. duh!