Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Project GLOWWORM | Urbi et Orbi

I've never before participated in No Shave November, A.K.A. "Movember," not because of any animosity toward raising funds & "awareness" for men's health issues, but because I am simply unwilling to shave my magnificent moustache & start again from zero. I remain so, yet this year I am participating in the Catholic Balm Co.'s, et al., Nazarite Challenge: (Nazarite-link). A "nazarite," in the Bible, is one who consecrated himself to the Lord/separated himself from the world & sin, through the fulfillment of a vow with specific conditions (Wikipedia-link). This November's Nazarite Challenge consists of five elements:

1) Join the Community
2) Commit to Prayer
3) Stop Shaving
4) Abstain & Avoid
5) Share Your Faith

I've joined the e-mail list & the Facebook page to join the community, added the official Nazarite Challenge prayer to my daily supplications, sworn off pop, & responded to the Holy Ghost's prompting to join the current Christ Renews His Parish team at Holy Redeemer. This is a GLOWWORM post, after all, so what about stopping shaving? I already don't shave my face, so I was faced with a quandary on this point, which I resolved through the following steps: I'm not going to shave the small part of my cheeks that I normally shave in order to keep those sparse hairs from grounding the flying wings of my handlebar moustache, I'm not going to trim any of the hairs in my beard (& I will only trim hairs in my moustache that have gone well & truly rogue, not just for aesthetic considerations), & on Hallowe'en night I shaved my head & will not cut those hairs again 'til December.

I normally trim the hair atop my head every three weeks, & have often thought that I should do so every fortnight, so how was I possibly to go four-plus weeks without becoming completely miserable? I shaved my head for the first time since high school, when we used to do so on the swim team before the end-of-the-season conference meet (for reasons of both aquatic performance & team solidarity). None of my hats feel quite right. I don't normally have very lengthy hair, but it makes more a difference than I had supposed. The smoothness has already passed (proving that have a shaven head is a high-maintenance bother I don't need) & right now my stubble has an effect on undershirts (T-shirts) not unlike Velcro. It's astonishing! I'm estimating a fortnight until my hair is back to normal, as it would look after a normal Level 1 buzzing my my electric clippers. (I've had those clippers since 1997. They cost as much as two haircuts at the barbershops on/around campus in Ann Arbor, so over the ensuing twenty years, the clippers have paid for themselves many times over.) I'll let you know if it takes longer.

I'm anticipating the most trouble with not shaving the small portion of my moustache directly beneath my nose. Past experience indicates that these hairs love nothing better than growing straight up my nostrils, which is very uncomfortable. I have genuine doubts about my ability to persist in not shaving those hairs; rather, I'm all but certain that I will be unable to persist in allowing them to grow.

This will be a very interesting experiment. (I really should come up with a Secret Base code name for the Nazarite Challenge. Project SAMSON—for the Biblical judge Samson was probably the most renowned Nazarite—would be a little too on the nose.) I am constantly pruning my beard & my moustache, so I expect things to get a little hairy without this topiary/bonsai styling. I would end with "Let the fun begin!" except that the fun has already begun.

I'm not neglecting the spiritual aspects of the Nazarite Challenge, it's just that they fit in so seamlessly with what I'm already doing, & writing about them presents few opportunities to type the word moustache. The official prayer of the Narazite Challenge:
Lord God, remember me!
Strengthen me, if only for this day,
So that I might rise up to do Your will.

Help me, Lord, to die to myself,
And in doing so,
To crush my pride & sins
Beneath the weight of Your grace.

Help me, O my God,
To sacrifice for others,
To stay free from that which leads to death,
And to humble myself before You.

May Your Spirit rush upon me, Lord!
Grant me Your strength.
Give me the boldness of Your Judges
So that I might proclaim Your glory.

Lord God, remember me!
Strengthen me, if only for this day,
So that I might rise up to do Your will.

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