When we were kids, my best friend Jessica and I would sleep in the lantern light of her mom, Cindy’s, camper, parked in the middle of the Church Camp grounds. Both of our mothers for that week of Camp would come before bed to brush the knots from our hair and wish us goodnight. We loved the goodnights but hated the brushing. We would squeam and squirm and complain at the tug of the brush. Our mothers would spray in detanglers that smelled like fake apples and too-sweet pears and shush us for any melodrama.
“We don’t want you to do this anymore!” we would say.
“Someday,” Cindy said one night, “you won’t have to. When we all get to Heaven, there will be no more knots in hair.”
Jessica and I found this to be amazing. We took turns asking about bee stings and chicken pox and skinned knees, moving further into dead grandparents and pets. Each of our mothers took turns denying the possibility of any bad thing being allowed in Heaven. But even above No More Volcanoes Exploding and Melting Villages, there were No More Knots in Hair.
When Cindy passed away this last year after a hard battle with cancer, I imagined her wandering around with the stingerless bees and the volcanoes that spouted vanilla frosting instead of molten lava. But most of all, I pictured her signature long, glossy blonde hair bouncing as she walked, completely knotless.
I am wondering if Heaven is a place I have to wait for, anymore. I am wondering if maybe here, in the dim lantern light in my own camper parked in the middle of a parking lot, is just as good a place to start. I am wondering about all this hardship, and this belief of God never giving you more than what you can bear. I am out of the business of blaming God for much, anymore. Not even at the loss of kind blonde mothers too soon taken. Which I think may have me out of the business of believing that I have to endure what I am handed at all.
Last week, I cut off all of my hair. Heaven seemed too far away to wait for knotless hair. And lately, my nights have been full of goodnight wishes and no brushing at all.