I knew that my hair would fall out sometime just before my second chemotherapy treatment. For the past week I’ve felt some scalp tenderness and then I began to see the extra hair in my brush. Right on schedule. So last night after supper and evening prayer Peggy and Carol went to work with the scissors, trimming what was left short so that when it falls out it won’t be so annoying.
I sat outside today, a beautiful autumn afternoon with a gentle breeze. As I ran my hand over my scalp I saw all the silver hair that fluttered to the ground and thought, “Look at that! My own falling leaves! Is this what trees go through each autumn?” Just like the trees that let go each fall, I can trust in the new growth that will come next spring.
It’s not easy but when I can see it as part of a necessary process then it makes sense. It is a sign that I am entering into a time of change, of renewal, of healing. What else, besides my hair, am I invited or required to let go?
I think of the caterpillar going into its cocoon. They say that it totally dissolves inside but that in the primordial “goo” there exist some imaginal discs that hold the possibility of the butterfly. This image works for me. Of necessity I have to let go of some of the things I am accustomed to do- in ministry, around the house, travel- during this time of treatment. If I can surrender those things, perhaps there is some essential work of be-ing that requires my attention and energy.
I’m glad to have the seasons of fall and winter to accompany me through this treatment time. Letting go, entering into some darker and shorter days, hibernating while the work of healing runs its course. This is way the Creator is unfolding for me.