Tuesday, September 23, 2008

i am not my hair...a brief adventure with my locks...

exactly one week ago today i sat down for a long evening of knotting.  that's right, i sat down and got dreadlocks.  our new friends from the live lightly tour came in town and since sara had such awesome locks and i have been talking about it for so long i decided that it was time to give it a shot.  two years of talking (maybe even longer)... 6 hours and 50 some odd locks later, i had a new dew... 

and last night i combed them all out.  every last one of them. 

this week has been crazy.  it has been one of the more challenging weeks i have faced in a long time.  the journey of these locks is short, but the week has taught me so much.  i think that if i was honest the minute sara finished the first lock i knew. i looked at it and said to myself this isn't me. but i pushed on and carried through for the week because i wanted it to be me (or more appropriately i felt like it should to be me).  i wanted to have them, be the kind of gal that carries then and does it so well.  i wanted to be the girl who walked into kimbal's classy christmas dinner with funky shoes and dreads as to say, "i am different and i won't fit in." 

but the moment they were on me something changed.  my world was flipped upside down.  i didn't feel right.  i couldn't put my finger on what was happening in me but as the days went on the not feeling right morphed into an highly emotional state where i began lashing, fighting.  i stared becoming different, thinking different.  my insecurity was shining through and my heart was beginning to become weary and hard.  the pressure of keeping them was heavy. i had set out to have them, i had talked about it, i had spent time and money doing it.  i couldn't go back, stubborn? pride? commitment?... and yet, in my quiet moments playing with judah this week, walking down town, cooking dinner, the thought would just come in and i would think "i don't want this.  i don't want them.  this isn't me." i just wanted to take a shower, feel the water run down my scalp.  i wanted to jump in the lake and go water skiing.  i actually wanted my curls i haven't loved my whole life back.  i felt i was an impostor, a fake. everyone kept telling me that they looked awesome, that it suited me, that i had the perfect hair to do it...but inside i was feeling something else.  

it came down to two things last night...was this adventure like a fast. a fast from standard quo beauty.  something physical that i was doing, sacrificing, that was teaching me something about myself about strength and beauty. was it challenging me to fight through it? 

or on the flip side was it and adventure learning about who i am and who i am not.  was it challenging me because it wasn't me but instead it was me ratting my hair in hopes that it would prove to everyone else (probably more myself) that i am like all the other radical, crazy, amazing jesus loving folks that have changed my thoughts on what it means to follow jesus.  was it challenging because somewhere deep down inside i was hoping that doing something radical would make me radical, would make me significant, different and somehow i would feel more comfortable in my skin knowing that i was indeed "radical."  as the saying goes (a popular one these days) you can put lip stick on a pig but it is still a pig...

maybe it was both. maybe there were lessoned to be learned on both sides of the choice...the one i learned (or am learning) is tough...maybe they both would have been.

the decision finally came to me last night when i was chatting with my amazing husband.  kimbal wanted me to keep them, but he also wanted me to be able to go through whatever it was that i needed to go through in order to be at peace.  randomly in the conversation he told me, "kellen,  do want you to know that you are one of the strongest women that i know.  and when you put your mind to something you do it.  it is not will that lacks." i think he may have said them to encourage me to keep them but those words gave me the freedom to let go. i was reminded in that moment about running a marathon, having a baby, breast feeding, praying for weeks on end. commitment wasn't lacking. it was that wanting bit, that piece about knowing that i was either doing something that i really wanted or feeling convicted enough about it to keep pushing through.  in an instant i felt peace and the ability to let them go...

that wasn't where the lesson was though. the lesson came in the torture of actually taking them out. 

one by one i un-ratted everything.  the same 6 hours and 50 some odd locks later.  i began thinking and singing an old hymn...it is well, with my soul... i knew i was moving where i wanted to go. i felt peace that i hadn't all week. i didn't want them and i knew it. eventually the un-ratting became tiresome and my head hurt. tears swelled up in my eyes and i was in pain. that was the moment that the lesson came...

i never ever ever again want to be radical for the sake of radical-ness.  i don't want to do radical things because they are radical. i want to follow jesus.  the last three years have been hard.  but i think that i have been waiting to do something radical, different for the sake of it rather than for him who has called us to it.  the call of jesus is radical enough, i don't need to be doing things to make it more so. seriously just a quick glance at matthew 5-6 the radical call of jesus goes way beyond having hair that doesn't fit in.  LOVE. LOVE. LOVE that is where jesus leads us.  and if i sit and think about it long enough it isn't shane claiborn's dreads that draw me, it is the way he loves jesus and his neighbor.  it isn't my dear sweet bess's crazy, funky-ness that draws me, it is jesus. they way she loves him and is secure in him. 

i have felt insignificant, alone, afraid that this life is going to land in a place that is far far away from the desires of my heart and so i want to push it there. i want it to be radical, significant... if i could rat my hair maybe then my heart would be there. if i could give everything i have maybe then i would be there but i am told that it profits me nothing...for the greatest is love. 

in my search for significance and radical-ness i haven't loved you all very well.  i have been judgmental of where you are on my scale of radical.  i have pushed things in church, in my home, in my marriage to fill that sense of radical not because they were always jesus...but when i got a piece of my different i wasn't very good at doing the most radical thing of all, being patient and kind and peaceful. i wasn't gracious, wise...love lacked.  for this in the last week i am sorry, and over the years i am as well.

as a family we are talking about doing some crazy stuff...but i want to do those things because he calls us, not because they are crazy.  i want to do them because my heart breaks and i can't help but move closer and love... in the meantime i want to learn what it means to love jesus, my son, my hubby, my friends... 

i hear judah stirring, this mom is going to take her curly locks (a little dry and crunchy locks) and go upstairs, change a diaper! maybe if i actually do it in love i could change the world.

"we can do no great things only small things with great love" -mother theresa 

2 comments:

Casey said...

i love you kellen kurtz and your ability to let god change you and life teach you.

you are pretty rad to me...zach and i are living proof that you are not so far away from performing small acts of love that change lives.

Holly & Ben Porter said...

hello my dear! reading this made me so happy, and being with you for a little bit of your journey with dreads, made me feel even more deeply the lesson you came to--I think it's one that will profoundly influence the way that you experience decisions that you make--especially some of the radical one's we're considering. I'll love and support you wherever Jesus is leading.