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call and response.

I have a really brilliant hairstylist. His name is Simon. The last time I went to see him I brought a picture of the bangs I wanted.

Simon, can you do this? I asked.

I can, but I won't, he replied.

Why not?

Because no man will ever approach you in a bar if you've got those bangs. They're too angular. They're too harsh.

But Simon, men hardly approach me in bars as it is.

And you want to make it harder, why?

I didn't get the bangs. I got pretty darn close. Simon's good that way. Compromise.

Simon knows everything about me. I tell him things that I tell almost no one else. He knows the names of the men I've loved (and the number of other people in the world with that information can be counted on one hand).

He is privy to all of the information too private to share here.

And so we talk about everything. Past lives and bathroom habits and political beliefs and what it is we feel called to do.

This last time I saw him he told me something I haven't been able to stop thinking about since:

There is almost no more traumatic event that the human body can go through than to give birth. And if a person didn't know what was happening they might think they were dying. It is an insane proposition before a woman: growing a child and then pushing it out. And the event of that, while sacred, is violent and bloody and is there anything harder? But it passes. And what comes from that violence and blood and struggle is life. New life. Perfect life. In fact, there is nothing more perfect and good and wholly right than that new life.

And the metaphor of that--the extension of that is that suffering and trauma and what feels like it might be killing us may be the very thing pushing out new life. The moment is just a moment. And when all is said and done few things are more worthwhile than the temporary pain during which it seemed life was ending.


I thought about that as I was on my knees today, praying--and how that thought was both the prayer and the gentle, unfolding response.


Diana said...

Wow. This is wonderful and so, so accurate. I have no other words.

Well, I have one. Amen.

Diana said...

Oh, and one other thing.

I need myself a Simon.

Mai Pai said...

Sometimes it can kill us. That thing called life.

look a little closer said...

Simon is the best! So glad he's working out for you!

Meghan said...

i love this! i haven't commented in a while, but i continue to read your blog daily meg. you are so inspirational and have such a way with words.

katilda said...

Not sure on your specific religious beliefs, but from a Christian standpoint the parallels between Christ and motherhood are extensive. Shedding blood go give life, going to the brink of death and back to give someone else a fresh start, etc. Also, stretch marks = like the scars that Christ bears. This feels really heavy for a blog comment but I've always liked those analogies. Motherhood is a sacred thing. I haven't had kids yet but I think I'll always be proud of my stretch marks when I do.

colleen said...

i love my hairdresser and have the same relationship - i go every two months on the dot because it's always so wonderful. beautiful thoughts on giving life.

Jo said...

simon sounds amaaaazing, and so wise. i absolutely love this. and katilda's comment is interesting as well...i never gave much thought to stretch marks, other than i would not want them. i may have to rethink that.

Jessica. Alma. said...

my dance professor once told me, "it hurts to give birth to yourself." Love your blog :)

Autumn said...

Oh Meg, I've been a long time reader, but have never posted. You have no idea how much I needed this thought tonight. Thank you for being open. For sharing. Best wishes.

~e said...

Meg~I recently gave birth and I can tell you that the words you wrote are spot. on. I think the same thoughts often when looking back on my birthing experience, and all other experiences I thought were killing me. SEEMED like they were killing me...

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! I just came across your blog and your writing is fantastic!


Jacqueline said...

i wish i had a simon!

it's true, the experiences that we think are going to kill our body or our soul are the experiences that bring about our best selves. it's a "refinement through fire." you have to go through the fire if you want to come out gold. it's an aspect of our ever changing relationship with God that simultaneously delights and horrifies me. in the end, it really is good, and He is good.

I'm such a fan of your writing!

ginger from the style of being said...

Beautifully said. And beautifully true. That was a lesson I had to learn recently...or I guess it's a lesson that's ongoing. It feels like your life can't go on, because it really can't go on as it is.

communikate. said...

You have no idea how fitting this is for my situation right now. What a fresh way to look at it.

Thanks for sharing!

Jay said...

Food for thought indeed... And a much needed perspective sometimes!!

emilia. said...

i love this.