I got a haircut Wednesday. (And no, they didn't charge me half price.)
But as the young woman was twirling her cloth around me, I did remember a line from a lyric by Michael Kelly Blanchard: "We're much the same in a barber's sheet."
Put us all in the same garb and our differences melt away.
The line come from one of Michael's story songs, "God in Disguise." It will never make him much money. It asks too much of the listener to ever be popular. But for those willing to pay attention, the words will give you a little spiritual pay day.
In the song, Grandpa the barber moves to town and opens up a shop. And right away he sets aside every Wednesday to give away free haircuts. Soon, the lost and forlorn, the homeless and hopeless begin forming a line at his door. And over the years, Grandpa starts to realize that the faces of all those people have created a grand portrait in his mind. Together they have formed, for him, the face of God.
When Gramps dies, his funeral is a big event. Many speak of his kindness, but the comments of one old homeless guy really tells the tale.
"When he'd put that sheet on me," the old guy says, "I had such dignity. I swear, in him, I see the face of God in disguise."
The lesson comes clear.
When you look for the face of God — his likeness — in other people, other people will begin to see that likeness in you.
I think that's what Paul must have had in mind when he wrote to the Corinthians: "For now, we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
I also think it's why Mother Teresa always looked so radiant and divine — because she saw radiance and divinity in every destitute soul she comforted on the streets of Calcutta, India.
Yet, the opposite can also be true. If we look at other people with suspicion, our own faces soon begin to look suspicious.
If we look at them with scorn, our faces look scornful.
If we see them as a threat, our faces look threatened.
Many who read that scripture in Corinthians feel the word "glass" must mean "window." But Paul is actually talking about a "mirror," a looking glass.
When we look out at the world we are actually looking into a mirror. And what we are inside gets reflected in what we see and what we see soon becomes part of who we are.
If we see "God in disguise" in others, he soon shows up, disguised as us as well.
When we look for love in the world, we become the love we are looking for.
At least I think that's what Grandpa the barber and Michael the songwriter are getting at.
I still need to ponder it a little more.
And I plan to.
In three weeks, when I go in for my regular three-minute, once-around-the-block haircut.
When I find myself wrapped again in the "barber sheet" that makes all of us equals.