Let’s pretend you live in a small town. It’s so small, there are only two barbers in the entire town. One barber has hair so amazing it’s talked about in hushed tones and people have begun using the word “coif” to describe it. The other barber has horrible, awful, terrible hair. It’s bad. If you didn’t know better, you’d say he had half of it permed and the other half was cut by a blind man with a severe muscle tick.
It’s two days before an important job interview. Your hair is beyond shaggy. You’re new to town. Which barber cuts your hair?
Clearly you have the barber with the bad hair cut, cut your hair! It’s a small town, remember? Only two barbers? That means the barber with the horrible haircut cut the other barbers majestic hair! And the barber with the horrible haircut? Well that was inflicted upon him by the barber with the great hair!
In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche writes that, “Some cannot loosen their own chains and can nonetheless redeem their friends.” In The Wounded Healer, Nouwen takes this idea a step further and writes that it is only by realizing our own broken woundedness we are able to help others heal. Nouwen expounds on that idea to say that the inherent reciprocity of relationship means that as we facilitate the healing of others, we will begin healing ourselves.
What I’m trying to get at is this: Perfection is not a requirement for helping others. We do not need to have a perfect marriage before we help someone with their relationship. We do not need to have perfect grades to help someone know a better way to learn. We do not have to have perfect hair in order to be a good barber. Think about this: Tiger Woods has a golf coach. I bet all my worldly possessions that his golf coach is no better at golf than Tiger Woods. However, he may have a better understanding of the game, its physics, its nuances, and he is able to communicate that understanding in a way that improves Tiger’s game.
So you have a bad hair day. Our bad hair days become fodder. It is from our broken, wounded, pain, that we are able to sympathize with others. This does not make the bad hair day any less frustrating. It does not make our injuries any less painful or our trauma any less damaging. However, if we are brave, these experiences can help heal others. And, if we’re lucky, the very process of helping others may help heal our very self.
|Bad Hair Day.
(C) Nathan D. Croy, 2014