The day we shaved off Ian’s curly hair, he didn’t do it alone. My brother Stephen, cousin Justin and my Uncle Anthony shaved their heads bald right along side of him, [Daddy’s head was, shall we say, already shaved? ;)] because in my family, we will elbow our way right into when you’re hurting and hurt right along side of you. You may lose your hair, but we’ll be darned if you lose it alone.
[Side note: the men in my family are devastatingly handsome with or without hair, and I love them something fierce.]
I briefly contemplated shaving my head that day, but dismissed the idea because MY HAIR.
Also, MY HAIR.
My little sister Emily and I stood by with our hearts stapled to our sleeves, grinning bravely and determinedly cheering in the kitchen while our Mama shaved head after head. Curls fell to the floor, and we oohed and ahhed as cancer left her chilling calling card. In the months that followed, people would stare as Ian shuffled into coffee shops and grocery stores with gaunt cheeks and a telling bald head. I would stare rudely, unflinchingly back until embarrassed, they looked away– because NOBODY got to treat my little brother like the dying kid. Not on my watch.
The day that Ian slipped away, I had one arm around Emily while we both tightly clung to his hand. My shattered heart throbbed at the searing loss of my little brother. I ached as I watched my fourteen year old sister grow up in a single afternoon.
After Ian died, Emily began to talk about shaving her head to raise money to fight cancer. She didn’t want any more sisters to lose their brothers, and told me that a bald head was a small price to pay next to giving other girls a chance to wave at their big brother from a graduation stage, or dance with him at their wedding.
And so, for all of the other sisters out there, Emily Scott Peterson is shaving her head. In so doing, she is hoping to raise $2,100—a hundred dollars for every year of her big brother’s life.
Y’all, I’ll be darned if I let my ballerina sister shave her long brown hair off for a red cent less than that.
Emily asked me if I’d write a blog to tell you what she’s doing, and I promised that I would. I’m writing to you not simply because we’re talking about my little brother, and my little sister, but because the world has been badly broken by sin. Since the February day that I walked out of Ian’s dark ICU room for the very last time, I’ve noticed that brokenness in a way that I never had before. Brokenness now leaps off of life’s pages, begging to be restored.
When I look at Jesus’ life, I see restoration. The God-man entered right into our brokenness, and a weary world rejoiced. The Restorer had finally come! Everywhere He went, the hungry were fed, the lame walked, the blind saw. God and sinners were reconciled, brokenness that He encountered was restored, and these were all earthly pictures of a heavenly reality that’s coming.
A thrill of hope, indeed.
I believe that Jesus has called you and I to be on the front lines of restoration. Restoration is our messy, heartbreaking, holy work.
I don’t know how Jesus is asking you to be a part of restoration, simply that He is. In the midst of this Christmas season, let’s remember that sacred good news of great joy—Emmanuel, God WITH us—means that an end to pain is coming. That everything sad is becoming untrue, and until Jesus comes back and our restoration is complete we are to incarnate Christ to a broken world that desperately needs Him.
I am proud of Emily for working to restore, by fighting cancer. If you would like to help her, click here. Select “Seat yourself”, then at the top of the page click “Make a donation”, and then fill in the required information.