By Eddie G. Griffin
Monday, June 29, 2009
When I cut off all my hair, including my black militant beard and mustache, I was trying to show solidarity and empathy with my grandson who has just started his treatments for colon cancer. Indeed, I was so torn up inside that, in the pain of my anguish, I vowed to cut off my hair so that he and I could be baldheaded together. But when I got up out of the barber’s chair and looked in the mirror, I was shocked.
Suddenly, the man sharing at the man in the mirror was not the same man. I looked my age, all 62 years of it, and I was trying to become acclimated to the new look. This was not me a few moments ago. I hardly recognized the alien staring back at me.
Even worse, my own 84-year old mother did not recognize me, and neither did my sister. Nobody in the family recognized me. It was, all of a sudden, they had to get used to a new man- a new brother, a new uncle, and a new grandpa. They each were devastated. They were looking at the man behind the caveman that they had known all of their lives, and they did not know just how to react.
When I went to church on Sunday, everybody was trying to figure out who was this new man sitting in Brother Griffin’s usual seat, on the front row. Some thought I was a visiting preacher. The minister was even bewildered in the pulpit. So, when I got up to serve the communion, I felt compelled to reintroduce myself to those who did not recognize me.
The transformation in my appearance made me feel uncomfortable going back out into the public eye. But I had to question myself, was it worth it? Then I remembered why I did it in the first place. My grandson had cancer, and it pained me to my heart. Sure, it was worth the sacrifice of hair.
The face of the man in the mirror may be different. But the heart is still the same.