More than a Shave

As a child I remember watching my father as he pulled out his old Gillette safety razor, his badger hair shaving brush, and shaving mug.  He would steam up the bathroom and with just a few strokes of that rough old brush turn that rock hard soap cake into gallons of fluffy white lather. 

In my child’s eye, I would dream of the day I would be “a man” and would follow the same ritual of daily face scraping.  I tried several times without the help and direction of my dad, the end result was something more akin to a slaughter house than a face shaving.  You see, I thought I knew every stroke of my father’s hand, I watched every move he made, but I was unaware of the finer nuances that my father learned from years of practice with that old Gillette.  I didn’t know that he, also, had a time when his dad’s razor inflicted great damage to his boyish soft skin.

One day my dad turned to me and asked if I wanted to shave today.  My heart jumped.  Did he really mean it?  Was I finally reaching the stage called “man”?  Eagerly, I accepted his invitation and was introduced to the finer points of that old Gillette safety razor.  He showed me how to prepare my face with hot water and lathered me with that cool menthol shave cream.  He showed me how to hold the razor and how to navigate the various bumps and turns of my face, especially the deep depression in the end of my chin.  My face was as smooth as the inside of a puppy’s ear when we were done.  No blood, no crying, no pain. 

What it took was the hand of experience, born out of pain.  My dad knew what to avoid, he knew where the pain would come from, and he knew how to prepare.  He had been there before.

As I look at my life, I can see that I didn’t learn that lesson quite as well as I should have.  I’ve tried to sail through every day and too often I took control.  I don’t know the nuances of navigating the bumps and turns of life which turn me upside down and inflict much pain.  If I would just listen to my Father in Heaven, he would, with experience born out of pain, show me how to prepare, how to hold myself, how to get into that deep depression and remove the unwanted irritations and cause me to feel like a failure.

I can see now only in retrospect.  I have three sons, all of which experimented with shaving on their own.  I have gone through the process of instructing them in the shaving ritual.  I hope at some time in their lives they will remember and recognize that their first shave was much more than a rite of passage to the stage called “man”.  It was a reflection of a much deeper spiritual truth that will take years to master.

En servicio como padre


He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!

I Peter 2:24 NLV


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