• Sarah Raad


We must focus on God and His Infinite Love and Mercy – for that is all that matters. Only that!

The Emblem of Christ Appearing to Constantine (Constantine's conversion) (Peter Paul Rubens)

I have been colouring my hair on a regular basis since I was about 18 years old. Sadly for me I inherited my parents’ hair genes and I have had grey hairs since my late teens and have been disguising them fairly effectively since about the same time.

My hair is naturally a very dark brown. I have never had any real problem with the natural colour of my hair until quite recently. You see, when dark hair starts turning grey and you start colouring it, the grey regrowth becomes very conspicuous against the darker coloured ends of the hair and the more grey that grows, the more apparent the regrowth becomes and the harder it is to hide it between hair-colours.

Because I am a very vain woman, I have been slowly lightening the colour of my hair so that the grey that grows through will be less conspicuous than it would otherwise appear if I left my hair at its natural colour. The most common way that people lighten hair colour is to bleach it – and this is how I managed to get the lightness into my hair.

The problem with bleach is that it is very damaging to the hair. It dries it out, stripping it of moisture, elasticity and protein. In fact, if the base hair colour is quite dark, it takes many sessions with a hairdresser over a period of about a year to ensure that the dark hair can be lightened to a blond colour without inflicting too much damage on the hair. And – no matter how careful the hairdresser – the hair still dries out and needs regular trims to cut of the dead, damaged and dry ends.

A few days into the latest lockdown caused by the COVID-19 restrictions, I was booked in to visit my hairdresser for a trim, but – due to the restrictions of this latest lockdown – my appointment was cancelled, and my hair went for about three and a half months in need of a trim.

It drove me mad. You see, I am okay to colour my own hair – I have been doing that for decades – but my hair is very straight and I cannot trim it, because if I cut it crooked, I will not be able to see it from behind and cannot straighten it up.

And so – though I trimmed all my children’s hair during the latest lockdown (my husband was even more precious than me and would not risk my going anywhere near his head with a scissors) – there was nobody to trim my hair. And so, I waited with increasing impatience as the ends of my hair became increasingly ragged and revolting.

Finally – after what felt like forever (which was actually only a few months) – we were allowed out enough to see a friend or sibling in a park. And so, as soon as I was able, I met with one of my sisters, armed with a scissors and I said to her, “Please, trim the ends for me.” And right then and there on a patch of grass outside in the sunshine in the space of less than five minutes, my sister trimmed off the dry old ends of my hair.

I was thinking about this the other day. You see, it was not just my hair that needed a trim – it was my life as well – my spiritual life that is…

For though I received the Grace of conversion in an instant last year while praying for my beautiful niece who was so sick – through no merit of my own – the process of conversion is much more slow than that.

And this is because – just like lightening dark hair with bleach – we cannot do everything at once in one big step, because doing it that way will cause more harm than good because the change will be overwhelming and we shall be unable to progress in faith as we will be consumed with fear.

And so, just as I visited a hairdresser several times over a period of time to lighten my hair, so too, did my Beloved visit me – through the example of the beautiful souls who He set on my path – over the period of my entire life so far… The beautiful priests, the beautiful friends I have made, and my family – who love me and had been praying for me – they were the vehicles used by my Beloved to visit me.

And in that way – just as when I lightened my hair using bleach – the Holy Spirit slowly started inspiring change in my life until one day the life I am living will bear no resemblance to the life I have lived…

But with that change, there were a lot of dead ends that needed to be trimmed off… Things that mattered to me before are now no longer important to me. Instead, I was looking for ways to trim them from my life. And the lockdowns made this difficult for me – as they probably did for you too – with restrictions on socialising, public gatherings for prayer and the reception of the sacraments.

You see, mine is a fledgling soul, and fledgling souls require direction for though I received a beautiful formation of faith during my childhood, somehow as I grew older and experienced all the general pains of life, I forgot about the most important thing, which is the INFINITE love and mercy of God.

And that is why trims are important – because they make everything more beautifully clear. And sometimes it is only possible to see that when we have a little help from someone with a better perspective, who can help us to trim away all the dead bits that do not matter at all…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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