It was a Saturday morning. I had lots to do, but I had to get a haircut. You know how long and unruly my hair can get. Ha! Anyway, I went to the usual place, Great Clips, but they weren?t open yet. I saw an ?Open? sign at another establishment on the way so I turned around and went inside even though I had not been there before. When I walked in nobody was there except for the guy behind the counter. He introduced himself as ?Tom,? but he looked more like Methuselah. Tom had lines in his face as deep as the Grand Canyon and yet he had long, flowing black hair to match his black leather pants and black t-shirt that read, ?I run with scissors.? Tom smelled like he had smoked 20 packs of Camel no filters for breakfast and his graveling voice validated my suspicion. My first thought was, ?What have I gotten myself into?? Since it usually takes about 90 seconds to cut my hair I thought, ?What can go wrong?? and climbed into the chair.
Tom began to talk. I listened. We graduated from high school the same year, 1979. His dad was the James Dean of Ardmore he told me. Dad died when he was young and mom was left to raise him by herself. Mom did the best she could, but Tom had a wild streak that wouldn?t be reasoned with.
Tom left home to play music, check out the ladies, and roam the country looking for who-knows-what. He fell in love with a stripper and they had a couple of boys. Tom said he stayed home at night and raised the boys while mom was out raising money on the dance floor. Surprise, surprise?it didn?t last. Tom said, ?I don?t know why I thought that would ever work out.? On the same day that a bomb went off in downtown OKC, a bomb went off in Tom?s home as his wife walked in and said, ?You take the kids cause I?m out of here. I don?t love you anymore.?
My usual 90 second haircut turned into a 40 minute makeover with Tom carefully manicuring every single hair on my head as he poured his heart out to me. I listened. After he had cut every hair twice he held up the mirror and asked me what I thought. I told him it was the best haircut I?d ever had, but I was even more impressed that he was raising his boys on his own. Tom commenced talking again. He said, ?I couldn?t do it if it wasn?t for my mom.? I asked if she helped him with the boys. Tom said, ?No, she died when I was 19, but she is my inspiration as I think about all of the sacrifices she made to raise me.?
I wish I could end this story by telling you that I led Tom down the Roman Road of Salvation and he fell to his knees and prayed to accept Jesus, but that would be a lie. I just listened?and tried to encourage Tom to keep fighting the good fight for his boys. Hopefully Tom was encouraged. I?ve got a new barber now, Tom is my man. I?m going back to see my friend next time I need a haircut and hopefully the Lord will use me to bless Tom.
I was in a hurry on Saturday morning, but God interrupted my plans. I?m glad He did. I need to have my plans interrupted because my plans are all about me. I?m learning that God wants me to care more about His plans than my own. In God?s plan the “Tom?s” of the world are more important than getting my list done. Lord, help me to plan according to what?s important to You.
In His Steps,