Monday, April 30, 2007

What's your religion?

That's what Cherry, my new hair stylist, asked me today as she snipped fresh life into my shaggy, overgrown do.

"Uh, Christian," I said. Although my brain was still floating around on Orcas Island, I realized this conversation could get interesting.

"What religion are you?" I inquired of Cherry, an attractive fifty-something gal with a really cute haircut. That's always a good sign.

"Oh, I'm spiritual," she answered, evening up my bangs. "Buddhism's cool, but I just kind of pick and choose from all the religions. I don't want any one church or person telling me what to believe. Guess I'm a free spirit."

Cherry told me a bit about her religious upbringing. Her mom had been Southern Baptist and her dad Lutheran. They'd given her the freedom to choose her own spiritual path, but Cherry couldn't settle on just one of the gazillions of religions that vied for her attention. So she decided to embrace them all.

But her smorgasborg religion hadn't sustained her through the storms of life. She lived alone, she confided, trying to make ends meet after being abandoned and abused by an endless string of men.

"So, how were you raised?" Cherry asked abruptly.

"Catholic," I mumbled, trying not to move my head while she tidied up my neck hairs with a razor.

Cherry snickered. "Couldn't handle the guilt thing, huh?"

"Yeah, it didn't really work for me," I agreed. Then, in the space of about two minutes while Cherry was making sure both sides were even, I shared my testimony. When I got to the part about my drug use, Cherry gasped.

"My son is a meth addict," she said sadly. "How wonderful that you found the way out."

While she blow-dried my hair, we chatted loudly for a few minutes about God's purposes for our lives. I told her about my church; how it is a place of healing and grace.

"Wow, I think I could go to a church like that!" Cherry said, genuinely interested. I noticed that the young woman at the next stall was listening intently, too.

I paid Cherry, feeling inspired to tip a bit more than usual. Then I handed her my business card with Abundant Life's service times written on it.

"Thanks, honey" Cherry said. "I really enjoyed talking with you today. Maybe I'll see you again."

I left the salon with a great haircut and a grateful heart. When I'd asked the Lord a few months back to give me the courage and opportunities to share my faith, I'd assumed it would be difficult.

I had no idea it would be this much fun!

Take heart, all you weak-kneed witnessers! If I can do this--you can too!