Liz Benigno

a view from the porch


liz benigno1 Comment

I don't wear my wig anymore. 

For a while my wig made me feel safe and protected. I would put it on in the morning and I would feel healthy and capable. People who knew my story would tell me that the wig was sassy and looked great (thank you kind people). People who didn't know my story simply assumed I was healthy and capable. 

Wig was kind to me. She was always shiny, done up and ready to go. Wig went on quickly and stayed put. She was loyal and faithful sitting right where she was suppose to sit telling the world, "There's nothing to see here, all is well. Go on with your business." 

But then one day Wig became itchy, and hot and annoying. Every time I went to put her on she would whisper to me "You're hiding under here..." I grew to resent her. I was beginning to feel better, but my hair-hat told me otherwise. She would whisper to me, "You can't go out without me, what will people think?" 

What would people think? I was nervous. I am a high school principal and I did not want to freak out 300+ kids (and/or subject myself to teenage mockery). But, I was finished and, ready or not, I was through with Wig. I put her high on a shelf the Monday of Thanksgiving break and I emailed the students and prepared them for what to expect the Monday they returned from break. And then I prayed for bravery. No more hiding.

Wondrous things began to happen. At the grocery store early one morning a man stopped me and said, "Keep fighting." It confused me at first, but then I remembered, "Oh yes, I am not hiding anymore and he can see me." We chatted and he told me about his wife Martha who was battling cancer for the second time. He cried while telling me about his wife and how much he loved her. I promised him I would pray for Martha while I shopped (I've been praying for her ever since). More than two dozen high school kids took the time to email me to tell me that they were praying for me, that I was beautiful, and that they didn't care if I was bald. I've been stopped by women who shared their own similar stories who wanted and needed to talk about it.

All this time I was hiding. My hiding under my hair hat didn't help or bless one single person. But, my bald-live-brave-don't-care-what-others-think life has given me an opportunity to talk with strangers, pray with crying grieving men and give teenagers a opportunity to lift someone up with encouragement and prayer. Wow. All that from one bald, salt and pepper (mostly salt) head. 

So what else are we hiding behind? The showy house that costs too much or hides the dysfunction? The 'perfect' marriage that isn't?  The busy calendar that hides loneliness? What if we all decided to just get brave and let people see the cracks in our marriages, our lonely hearts and our messy families? Maybe then we would actually be in a place of blessing.

Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2