Thirsty Hart

French haircuts

El corte de cabello Vicente Palmaroli

For most of my life I understood haircut method to be something like this: make hair very wet and flat. Use a comb to measure out sections. Carefully cut them to be very even. Check evenness frequently by holding out symmetrical sections of hair or combing everything flat and standing back to look like a painter eyeing a work in progress. Triple check that everything’s very even. Blow-dry.

Then I encountered what my sister and I later began to call “French” haircuts. I had had a bad haircut at a new salon and asked a friend for a reference to fix it. I went to the suggested guy. What followed was 45 terrifying minutes of whirling scissors and flying hands. I thought I was going to lose an eye. It turned out to be a great haircut, but I was so traumatized I never went back. I told my sister about it and she broke up laughing, remembering a similar incident. She had been so terrified she left mid-cut, unable to imagine anything good coming out of such a storm of flipping and snipping. For reasons I now longer recall we began to refer to this as “the French method.”

This morning, while needing a haircut on vacation, it happened again. Slightly unnerving experience. Conscious decision to sit it out and trust that the lady probably knew what she was doing and all would be well in the end. And it was.

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A few donkeys short of a herd

I bought a Missal recently and have taken up the habit of reading the readings for the day as soon as I get up (I keep it on the night stand). That way even if I don’t go to Mass until evening the readings are in my heart all day. This week’s stories of conversions are fascinating me. Here’s Samuel, trying to take a nap, and God keeps waking him up. Here’s Saul, out looking for some lost donkeys, and next thing you know he’s anointed King of the Israelites. Meanwhile Jesus, doctor of men, is healing lepers, casting out demons and inviting people to dinner.

Codex Aureus - Healing Of The Paralytic

Jesus heals a paralyzed man who is lowered down through the roof, as the crowd was too thick to get to the door.

The dinner table as a place of conversion? The bed makes more sense. One is in bed when sick or incapacitated, in need of healing. In bed, one is fragile, weak, humbled, closer to death’s realm. How many healed by Christ are found in bed. (Or even in the grave!!) One is also in bed when sleeping. Night is still, mysterious. Here angels, demons and our dear Creator can get a word in edgewise. Read the rest of this entry »

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Crazy people


I love the Bamberg Apocalypse, an old manuscript with particularly endearing illustrations.

A friend, still well-saturated with a modern secular view of things, pointed out that religious people are, as a rule, crazy. It makes being religious a bit shameful. One can try covering it up by being ‘spiritual but not religious’ or muddling around in vaguely non-religious religiosity, but those explanations don’t hold up to actually becoming Christian. “Hey, off to Mass…I’m just spiritual, not religious…but, you know, um…Sunday…um..mumble, mumble…I mean, I think I’ll just run to Starbucks…” [bolts out the door].

I would defend Christians as not crazy, but I don’t think it’s true. There’s a beautiful lady at Mass every morning who waves her rosary in the air like a thurible, increasing the intensity of the waving in union with the intensity of the ceremony. During the Consecration she’s zinging that rosary back and forth like a skilled altar boy, and it makes that nice clanking sound the altar boys practice so hard to get just right. She may be crazy. But you know what? If you get to heaven you’ll surely find her right there at the throne of God: Read the rest of this entry »

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