My fifteen-year-old daughter is sporting a swath of bright pink hair these days, the brightness bouncing off her green eyes, accenting her natural black tresses. Given her age and eccentric leanings in the world of teen fashion, my husband and I chose to turn a blind eye. In fact, my husband said he was pleasantly surprised at how good it looked on her. I agreed, and am happy to oblige our daughter’s individuality in this small, non-controversial matter. Hair grows out, colors fade, and we can solidify our “cool parent” status for a few months. It’s like having money in the teen bank. Anything we forbid at this point is seen as more reasonable . . . I mean, we *did* let her dye her hair pink. (smirk)
Now it may seem a little light-hearted in these times to talk about bright pink hair on the head of a random teenage girl. When I was a younger mom, I would have looked at that young lady, and her parents, as being somewhat remiss in considering the more important, weightier issues of life. Especially now, with so much at stake.
Social media is very loud these days. Everyone has an opinion on the state of the world, and everyone needs to be right. It is tiresome to read and digest. Politicizing this pandemic has become the norm with each side screaming louder at the other. Divisiveness reigns. I have friends and family members in both “camps,” so to speak, and it hurts to witness the destruction of relationships across the board. The lack of access to mass and the sacraments is taking its toll on even the most reasonable and most charitable among us. Maybe it is time to sit back and take stock.
We have a duty to our children and families first and foremost. We can only be and do what is in their best interest. And this will look different for every family. Some families, for the sake of the mental health of their children, will allow them to socialize a bit (or dye their hair pink—*grin*), while others with immuno-compromised family members will strictly forbid any form of socializing at all. We need to be okay with this. We need to pray and trust that each friend, each family member, is doing their very best within their own unique set of circumstances as the facts are presented to them. And then we need to be quiet. It is in the quiet that guidance will come. Do not contribute to the noise. Be a listening ear and a comforting shoulder. Be the grace that is needed.
We are living in a time of unease. There is a certain weight to life, and we seem to be battling a darkness that threatens our peace and joy. Our teens live moment-to-moment, pink hair and all. And while pink hair won’t be on my personal agenda anytime soon, maybe we should take a page from our teens’ book of life. What is God asking of us today? Right now? Not next week or next month, however that may look . . . or, lord help us, even this time next year? Projecting our immediate circumstances onto a future of uncertainty breeds anxiety. And that is not of God. He alone holds the future. And, praise be, holds us all as well.
Maybe now is a time for grace.