I found my first gray hair when I was in my early 20s. At the time, I was a youth worker, heavily involved in the high school ministry at my church. At first, it was kind of shocking. I mean, I was only 20-something. How could I have gray hair?
Not many people believed me. Understandable because I was still awfully young. But I knew where they were.
As I kept getting older, I kept getting involved in other stressful ministries, and the stress at work continued to grow beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone. And I don’t know if stress can cause gray hair or not. That may be an old wives’ tale. But it felt like my hair kept losing more and more of its color. On certain days, I was so stressed out, I imagined I could actually feel the brown draining out of my hair.
In the last few years, my 30s, my gray has become more visible than ever. I’ve already explained my position on makeup and why I’m not interested. That same reasoning applies to hair dye. I’m just not interested.
I know plenty of people who dye their hair, and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. But I’ve chosen not to do it for a number of reasons, mostly because I’m actually proud of all my gray hairs. For me, my gray feels kind of like battle scars. And it’s not that I want to live in the past. That’s not the case at all. But I don’t want to forget it either.
I don’t want to forget my many years working with high school students. Those kids helped me grow more than any college class, more than any job, more than any other relationship in my life. Was it exhausting? And stressful? And impossible at times? Absolutely. But I also wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m so fortunate to still have relationships with many of those teens, most of whom are now adults, some with their own families. That’s worth more to me than almost anything else in my life.
I don’t want to forget the many different jobs I’ve had. You want to talk about responsibility? Wow. I’ve done a lot of different types of jobs over the years. Stuffing envelopes, checking out library books, sign language interpreting, customer service, web design, copywriting, and now novel writing. But I couldn’t have gotten where I am now without the experience I gained throughout all those different jobs. But they were stressful. There were times I didn’t know where my next meal would come from. There were times when I wasn’t sure I’d have enough to pay my bills. But that time in my life taught me the value of trusting God to provide, and He never let me down.
Maybe gray hair means something else to other people, but to me it helps me remember where I’ve come from and where I’m going. So why would I cover it up? It’s part of my story, and I’m proud of it.