Crown of Beauty

October 26, 2008 | 14 comments

I see them everywhere these days — heads shorn.

The fluorescent lights in the school hallway reflect off every third teen-age boy. A few kept a strip down the middle, mohawk-style. But many left nothing but a polished shine.

Theirs is a show of solidarity for a friend who lost his hair from chemotherapy treatments. In my town, a whole slew of them — age 15, 16, and 17 — are saying, “Brother, you don’t have to do this alone. We’re walking this road with you, in the only way we know how.”

And when you see what they’ve done, you can’t argue the fact that bald is, indeed, beautiful. Love trumps fashion.

In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah says something about how, with God, we can trade in the bad stuff in our lives — the ashes — for something beautiful — a crown. Isaiah calls it a “crown of beauty.”

I see “crowns of beauty” at school, at the grocery store, at the gas station. And then, behind closed doors, I see another polished crown reflecting the overhead lights. For, you see, cancer is here, on the family farm.

If you lived here, you’d see him — bald-headed and driving the John Deere combine through the cornfield. That’s my father-in-law, stoic and without complaint. Rather than watch his hair fall out gradually in clumps, he matter-of-factly asked the nurse to shave it.

Anna, my four-year-old, whispered to me of her Grandpa: “Bop looks so cute with that bald head.”

And now, watching him in the fields on the farmland we share, I look out my window and wonder at his strength: He works so hard, Lord, even when his body has endured so much: leukemia, so many rounds of chemo, long and repeated hospital stays. Thank you, Father, for giving him enough strength for today.

In the Bible, Samson lost his physical strength when his hair was cut. But my father-in-law? Shaved, he seems stronger somehow. Especially when he’s in the field, working alongside his son, who is my husband.

In the cornfield that is my backyard, the two farmers — father and son — will work like barbers this week, shearing the fields. They will leave only stubble. And from my kitchen window, I will watch.

Fresh cuts, fresh starts … ***

When they are done here, they will leave the ground bare, making room for something new to sprout later. Even in the fall, hope springs eternal.

*** Inspired by Ann Voskamp, at Holy Experience.

by | October 26, 2008 | 14 comments

14 Comments

  1. Carol

    Praise God for his renewed strength. I know you all love seeing him out on the farm once again. Love, Carol

    Reply
  2. Andrea

    You write so beautifully – I thank the Lord for giving you this gift AND that you use it to glorify Him! What a blessing you must be to your in-laws also…
    Press on, dear sister!
    Andrea

    Reply
  3. Jesse and Sarah

    Aw, Jennifer, what an endearing love you and honor you have for your father in law. I love how you always engage His word in relation to your own life. It’s so inspiring for me and builds my faith when I read your positive tidbits about the highs and lows of your your day. This post, particularly, expresses a ‘high’. You love your husband and FIL so much; it comes through in ‘Crown of Beauty’. I love how you express yourself through words! That’s why I always find myself coming back to your blog because God uses you to build my walk with Him. I’m such a sensitive person that I’m tearing up knowing how amazing God is to use the modern blog as a way to draw others back to him. I mention that in my post on my blog to. My blog is in the process of a upgrading to a whole new level.

    I don’t know how to communicate with you other than leaving comments. But I’d like to ask you a question but not publicly for others to read in this comment. Is there a email or other source to write you my question? I promise I won’t sell your email! 🙂

    If not than just ask me for my personal email and I wont’ have a problem releasing it to you.

    Reply
  4. Carey

    Tears in my eyes as I read this sad but beautiful joyous post. God Bless and prayers!

    Reply
  5. dori

    Thanks for the wonderful reminder of what my dad did for my mom. 10 years ago my mom battled breast cancer. when her hair started to fall out from chemo, my dad shaved his head full of grey, thick curls along side my mom. I’ll never forget his selfless act of love and support for her as they battled cancer together, beautifully bald! thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  6. Chris Godfredsen

    With wet fingers from wiping the tears from my eyes, I rejoice with you as I can see the combine out your kitchen window. I praise our God in Heaven that the two farmers are working side by side this harvest. Praise God from whom all blessings flow…I believe I will be blessed every time I come across a John Deere from this moment on!

    Reply
  7. Chris Godfredsen

    With wet fingers from wiping the tears from my eyes, I rejoice with you as I can see the combine out your kitchen window. I praise our God in Heaven that the two farmers are working side by side this harvest. Praise God from whom all blessings flow…I believe I will be blessed every time I come across a John Deere from this moment on!

    Reply
  8. L.L. Barkat

    just… sitting… taking… this… in…

    Reply
  9. Billy Coffey

    What a lovely story, so full of love and truth. God bless the farmers of this world, made tough and wise and thankful by the plying of their trade…

    Reply
  10. superstar70

    What can I say to that Blog entry, friend?
    I am always filled with more reason to be happy & alive & grateful after I read your blog entries…

    Love & Hugs to you my friend…
    Tracy

    Reply
  11. Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience

    Lovely!
    Thank you for sharing such thoughtful, prayer-filled words…

    Reply
  12. marilyn moser

    I am amazed at your gift of bringing the ordinary day events to use them to “teach” a lesson. I too have experienced a parent in law…my mother in law who faught brain cancer for a year…I too have watched my husband and his father farming together side by side until suddenly at the young age of 59 he was taken from us…now I watch my husband plant and harvest without his father beside him helping along the way…so I hope they treasure those moments together in the field as they are often gone far too soon! Keep up the great work!
    You are an inspiration to me!
    Love,
    Marilyn

    Reply
  13. papa&nanaT

    Thank you so much for being YOU. God gave us such a gift when He brought you to Inwood. It seems our lives are not as often working in the same part of Gods world lately and I don’t understand why. I miss you lots. I heard about the harvest story and just had to check it out. God truly has blessed the Lees with an abundance of love and peace. That is an answer to our prayers. RT and I send love your way. Thanks for the message. You are such a willing vessel using your talents to help us all look at the ordinary in a new way, when you could just privatly journal and no one would know or grow from your personal experiences. Always and forever, Your sister in Him Sandy

    Reply
  14. papa&nanaT

    Thank you so much for being YOU. God gave us such a gift when He brought you to Inwood. It seems our lives are not as often working in the same part of Gods world lately and I don’t understand why. I miss you lots. I heard about the harvest story and just had to check it out. God truly has blessed the Lees with an abundance of love and peace. That is an answer to our prayers. RT and I send love your way. Thanks for the message. You are such a willing vessel using your talents to help us all look at the ordinary in a new way, when you could just privatly journal and no one would know or grow from your personal experiences. Always and forever, Your sister in Him Sandy

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest