Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Project GLOWWORM | Urbi et Orbi

We are now two-thirds of the way through the Nazarite Challenge. How is it going, you ask? So far, so good, I would say. None of the hairs I have ceased shaving have thus far posed nearly as much of an itch risk as I feared. My beard has proceeded in stages, from me shaving most of my cheeks (where the hair coverage is more sparse than along the jawline) to intentionally less of my cheeks to now nothing at all of my cheeks, & I couldn't be more pleased with how it's going. The hair there is still more sparse than I'd like, but I love the additional fullness to my beard. Also, those new hairs have not posed the snare for the flying wings of my moustache that I'd feared. There are three rogue hairs that will have to go as soon as the Nazarite Challenge is over; the trio sit prominently above the rest of the hairline, a third of the way from the rest of the beard to my left eye socket. They're ridiculous & they simply have to go. So, I'll be shaving those come December, but nothing else from my cheeks. I've not yet decided if I'll resume shaving the hairs of my moustache directly beneath my nostrils, but I'm leaning toward leaving them be, as they are not itching as I'd feared. (Note the recurrent theme of fears being debunked.)

Most exciting is how much less time I spend on vanity. One of my motivations for participating in the Nazarite Challenge was an awareness of how much time I spend preening over my whiskers. I trimmed either my moustache of my beard—or both—almost every day. Every dratted day! Once a month is a little more hardcore a commitment than I'm willing to make on an ongoing basis, but I am completely rethinking how I groom & style my whiskers. There are some rogue elephant hairs in my beard that could stand a chop, but somewhere along the line I forgot that one of the reasons I grew a beard was ease of maintenance, to spend less time on grooming than I'd previously spent on shaving. This month as a soft quasi-Nazarite has been a most welcome wake-up call. I don't yet know if I'll let myself police the rogue hairs once a week or only once a fortnight, but I do know that on the vast majority of days taking sheers to any hair of my beard will be strictly verboten. The same or a substantively similar policy shall apply to my moustache. I've let grow hairs than in the days of yore would have been terminated with extreme prejudice & I'm loving the fuller appearance of my moustache.

Rest assured, dear reader, that I'm still well-short of blending in with the Robertson clan of Duck Dynasty fame. Yet it is right & fitting to let my whiskers grow a little more wildly, to spend less time on topiary, on making them conform to my often contradictory wishes for their appearance. I love the bewhiskered lifestyle. I often say, with a wink in my eye, that the natural shape of my moustache & the joy it imparts to all those who behold it is proof that God wants me be mustachioed; you know, I'm only half joking when I say that. In a very, very small way—absurdly small, even—not trimming my beard is a sign of trust in God, in Providence, an acknowledgement that His foolishness is infinitely superior to my wisdom. By none of this is it my purpose today to somehow impute as impious the cleanshaven man; I certainly wouldn't be a better disciple of the Lord if I allowed my whiskers to lead me into vainglory. These are just my experiences of trying to live the faith day in & day out while also enjoying the bewhiskered lifestyle, & wondering if there is some yet-unseen intersection betwixt those two facets, if they need not necessarily be regarded as discreet phenomena. Now that I've thoroughly muddied the waters, I'll leave you with the words of St. Augustine of Hippo:
The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.

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