The last time I trimmed my beard was around the Winter Solstice. There was no reason I decided to stop grooming my face blanket. It was mostly a practical choice. I wanted hair somewhere above my shoulders when the cold winds of winter were whipping at my head.
Around the beginning of February, my beard began taking on a personality of it’s own. In return, I gently cared for it. I knew it had a significant place in my life when I started to use shampoo and conditioner for the first time in twenty years. As I look back, that is probably when it won it’s way into my heart. In moments of stress, I could put my hand on my face and remember that my crumb catcher had never left me. Its presence brought me comfort. It also brought me compliments.
“Wow! Nice beard!” strangers would say. Sure, some of them may not have wanted to insult me to my face (especially with my beard staring right at them) but some of them were probably sincere. Many friends gave me accolades too. My chin sweater was no longer something practical to keep me warm. It was an extension of myself.
All of the sudden, I was hit with a conundrum. When is it time to let go? This internal struggle made me realize that I might have an opportunity to lean into one of the fundamental realities of life.
I generally dislike this idea. As I reflect on it, I think one of the reasons why I seek to avoid change is because it makes me feel out of control. I like to think that I can settle into predictable patterns and live comfortably.
There is one problem with this philosophy. Ultimately, I am in control of very little. I don’t control the seasons. Neither do you. Just like summer turns to fall and winter turns to spring, there are seasons of our lives in which significant transformation takes place.
Kids grow up. Sickness hits. Friends move on. Loved ones die. Culture shifts. The only constant in life is change.
I do violence to my soul when I refuse to admit that there are seasons of life. When circumstances shift in my life, I can choose to ignore the facts and move on like nothing is different or I can grieve the ending of a season. It is only then that I can embrace the new season that I have been given.
So, I choose to trim my beard. Not because I am getting tired of it or because people are giving me negative comments. Those are the typical reasons I am tempted to make changes in my life.
I trim it because it is spring. It is an outward sign of an inward reality.
When seasons change so do we.