Passing through to heaven

Tales from the front pew

Ready for a pop quiz?

What do Abraham Lincoln, Grizzly Adams, the folks from Duck Dynasty and post-menopausal women have in common? Beards.

I’ve been thinking about beards lately because my husband, Bob, recently decided to grow one.

In the past, Bob flirted with the idea of a mustache once or twice, but they rarely made it past three or four days. The impetus for a beard, however, came from the fact that he was playing the Apostle Andrew in a neighboring church’s Last Supper drama.

“You know, Kim,” Bob told me, “I might just grow a beard to really look the part. What do you think?”

“I think that’s a good idea,” I told him. “And if you don’t like it, you can shave it off after the play.”

And so began a rollercoaster ride of fevered follicle feelings. I say ‘feelings’ because Bob spent a good part of each day vacillating between enthusiasm –You know, this is starting to look pretty good — and discouragement –I’m starting to think that this was a stupid idea.

“Kim,” he’d opine, standing in front of the bathroom mirror, “What do you really think about this beard? Is it a good idea, or do I look like that guy on the ’80s series ‘Moonlighting?'”

(He wasn’t referring to Bruce Willis, by the way, but the detective agency’s secretary’s boyfriend who had an uncanny resemblance to a hedgehog).

“No, honey,” I told him for the fifth day in a row. “You don’t look anything like Ms. Depesto’s (the secretary) boyfriend. It’s going fine. You just need to give it a little more time.”

Bob kept a daily beard vigil, looking in house mirrors, store windows and even gazing at himself in the car mirror as he drove.

Our daughter, Val, found the latter particularly disturbing.

“Dad, you keep looking at yourself in the mirror while you drive,” she complained. “You know, that’s just as bad as texting. It isn’t exactly safe.”

“She’s got a point, honey,” I chimed in. “I know you’re worried about the beard, but that’ll be the least of your concerns if we collide with a semi.”

After about two weeks, Bob’s beard was considerably more prominent, moving from bristly to almost-furry feeling. I was starting to like it, but Val didn’t share my appreciation.

“So, Dad, after the play’s over, you’re going to shave it off, right?” she asked.

“I suppose,” he told her. “Why, don’t you like it?”

“Um, it’s okay, I guess,” she said. “But, well, it just isn’t you. You’re not ‘dad’ with that thing.”

Val had a point. The beard gave Bob’s face a harsher look, somehow. He kind of resembled the bearded Mr. Spock in the Star Trek episode where the landing party beamed onto an unfriendly parallel universe. It just didn’t “belong” on his face. Apparently, Bob agreed. About 20 minutes after the play ended, he shaved it off.

As Christians, our life in this world is kind of like Bob’s beard — we just don’t “fit.” That’s because we’re only passing through until we get to our true home in heaven.


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