Friday, September 26, 2008

Freedom to Grow a Beard

I have five days beard growth on my upper lip and chin. I am going to grow it out at least to see whether it matches my white hair on the sides of my head. Whether it looks good will determine whether it endures. It has received a good deal of opposition from Christine who tells me it makes me look older, tired, fatter-faced, unwell and she simply doesn't like it. But she's giving me latitude because she knows that in my lines of work I have never had freedom to grow the beard. Perceptions were that professionalism and integrity were synonymous with being a smooth man.

One of the incidental benefits of retirement I find is freedom from other people's expectations and impositions.

I was about thirty-six years of age and we returned from a month of family camping and I was sporting a mustache. One of my parishioners (not Christine) told me if I didn't shave it off, she would not return to church. I went home, cut half of it and walked to her house to cheekily tell her, "I'll meet you half way."

Time was when parishioners had the impression that they could control their pastors. Well, often they did control them. Times have changed and newer generations do not capitulate so readily to someone else's mores or preferences. Fortunately for me, I am finally old enough and job-less, so that no matter what you think of my beard, "Frankly Scarlett ...."

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