This time I went for a short French bob, a style I think is super cute. I’ve had a chin length angled bob for a lot of the 90’s and really had no need to go back to that. The idea here is to try styles I have never tried, so here is my chance! If I don’t like a cut, I can quickly change it!

I had a hair on my arm, so I picked it off and threw it away. Seconds later it was still there, so I repeated the process. Didn’t I just do this?! Even then, I didn’t realize what was happening. It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized the chemo hair loss had begun. And by then when I ran my fingers through my hair, I came back with quite a bit of hair in my hands.

I have felt so good for so much of chemo that it was easy to wonder if this cancer was really real. But realizing that the hair loss has started, underscored the diagnosis in a way that hit home. I stepped back to notice the feelings as they washed over me. Looking at them from a distance helps me to feel and release them so they don’t hang around too long.

The Austrian was busy cutting the hair at the nape of my neck. I was trying to hold very still and hold my head very level (otherwise this was going to be a much shorter cut than expected) so I quieted myself.

That’s when I realized Jesus was beside me.

Now I usually go looking for Jesus, but this time I felt that He came looking for me. I was surprised. I didn’t think cutting my hair this time was that big of a deal that I would need Jesus for it… was this going to be a big deal? Is that why Jesus was there? Dread hit me with a left hook. I gave it a dirty look.

I turned to Jesus to say “I got this, Jesus… I don’t need you right now” when I started to realize A) maybe I don’t “got this” as much as I thought and B) maybe Jesus wants to be with me even when I feel pretty self sufficient.

Wow, how to even unpack my dismissive response to seeing Jesus?! Even when I think “I got this” Jesus is still there for me. Why do I feel like I need to repeat this over and over again? I want this realization to really sink in!

Do I only need Jesus for tough things? I’ve survived cancer, betrayal, divorce, infertility, and religion, and I’m going to act like I don’t need Jesus?!

I do!

I really do need Jesus.

“Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your Glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your Presence Lord”
-Jesus Culture

Jesus is here for the loss of my hair.

Jesus is here for all my losses.

And yours.

I am making my hair an offering.

It is not stolen from me,

I give it to the one who gave it to me.

Giving my hair is an embodied prayer.


Sending you so much love,


5 responses to “Hair Part 3”

  1. 3 Generations Avatar
    3 Generations

    I feel both heartache and heart-swelling in pride for who Jesus is for you and who you are, Carmen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura Shaver Avatar
    Laura Shaver

    “I’ll never complain about a bad hair day again” I decided in 2004. My beloved brother, John was fighting a vicious battle with cancer at age 40. There he was at my sons graduation grinning from ear to ear, spreading his infectious joy as he always did. This time thought, he was very puffy. And very bald. He was beautiful. He was there. He was just as he was. I’ll never forget the happiness he exuded just to be alive. Bad hair day??? NEVER!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carmen Shenk Avatar

      Your brother was an absolute treasure! I sometimes come across a print I have of the drawing. I remember his amazing kindness to talk to me about my non-cancer health event that I had during his long cancer journey. What a gift.


  3. Laura Shaver Avatar
    Laura Shaver

    (I didn’t intend to leave your sorrow out of my reply to your post. ).
    You are brave. Such profound thoughts and convictions are spurring us on. You make this world more hopeful. Am going to keep looking for Jesus today because you remind me to. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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