My friend, Allison Herrin, is the author of a new book. I’m guest-posting for her today at www.allisonherrin.com. We would love for you to come on over and check it out. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of A Heart Abandoned: Discovering Your Road to Freedom, in the Face of a Broken Past today! You can also order it on Kindle.
Just A Little Off The Top Please
As the day passed, the two of us needed a bathroom break. After scanning the street for possibilities, my bestie, Carole, said, “Let’s go see if the Barber Shop down the street is still open.”
I thought, the barber shop? Seriously? Couldn’t we find a more “female friendly” place? I’m pretty sure they won’t have a women’s bathroom in a barber shop.
Keeping my thoughts to myself, I said, “Sure. They might have one. I guess it’s worth a try.”
The door was wide open. As I peered around the door frame, I saw a long narrow room lined with men on each side. Some were reading the paper as they waited. Others were watching TV. I noticed that every man in this place was African-American, not that color mattered at all to me. It just struck me as obvious. Equally noticeable, and strange to them no doubt, were the two white women standing at the door gazing in. After living in Northern California with all of its racial diversity for so many of my adult years, I guess I naively thought this was a thing of the past.
The gentleman cutting hair just inside the door spoke to us, as we stood unsure of how to proceed. With a huge grin, he asked, “Can I help you ladies on this fine day?”
Carole smiled and said, “Why yes you can, if you happen to have bathroom we could use.”
He declared, “Well sure. It’s in the back on the right.” He continued with a smile, “Help yourself. You can have anything you want. I’d give you ladies that bathroom, if I could!”
Business was apparently good that day, and we made our way through the lineup of men waiting to get a haircut. To the back we went. As I waited, I noticed there were all ages… boys with their dads, middle-aged men, and grey-haired, older gentlemen. If I recall correctly, it was my first time in a barber shop, and it was like something from a movie.
In the stillness of the wait, God said, “Get ready. You are going to bless these men.”
I asked, “Lord, did I hear you right? Bless them? How?”
He answered, “You’re going to pray over them.” (True story. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.)
I argued, “Lord You know I don’t mind praying with people, but they are all men. I’m a woman. A southern, white one at that. What makes You think these men would want to hear anything I have to say? If You really want me to do that, please make it clear. I need to know I’m hearing You correctly. Will You open up a conversation, or something?”
(Later, Carole shared that God was speaking a similar thing to her while she was in the bathroom.)
As we made our way back through the narrow room, I spoke out with a big smile and said, “Well thank you for the use of your bathroom. Now you all know how it feels to rescue two damsels in distress.”
They laughed. One of the barbers stopped cutting hair. Through the noise of the television, he asked, “What are you doing here?”
I asked, “What do you mean?”
He continued, “Like, are you here to shop, or just walk around? What are you doing in town today?”
That was it! God was opening the conversation.
I answered, “We are here with the group down the street, bringing worship and blessing people in town with prayer.”
The barber by the door asked, “Well then, when are you gonna bless us?”
Grinning, I spoke up over the noise and said, “If you’ll turn the TV down some, I would be glad to.”
He turned it off. Silence fell. We had their undivided attention, and they listened intently as we prayed.
My mouth moved and something came out like, “Lord, thank you for honoring us to pray over these men. I pray special blessings over every man and boy in this room. Please bless (I called the barbers by the names on their shirts) and this business. Allow business to grow and blossom. Leave them all standing in awe of You. Bless their families. Protect their marriages. Honor these men as providers and protectors of their families, as they choose to honor You with their lives. Help them to be the Godly men You created them to be. I know You have special plans for each one of them…” Carole continued and prayed as God led, then we ended, “…in Jesus’ name, amen!”
With a big smile, the man at the door said , “I like that! I think y’all act like y’all have done that a time or two. Thank you! Y’all can come back and do that EVERY week.”
We thanked them again and made our way out the front door. I marveled how Holy Spirit gives us boldness when we need it and crosses racial, gender, and age barriers. We are the ones blessed when we choose to be risk-takers and see people through Jesus’ lens of love.