Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)
TITLE: Redheads Blush Best
By Pam Carlson-Hetland
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"Did you know that it is a recessive gene that produces a redheaded child and that redheads almost always have blue or green eyes. You are quite an oddity of nature." He announced in front of the entire Junior Biology class.
The flood of laughter from my classmates matched the flood of color that stained my pale skin. If ever I wanted to die from pure embarrassment, it was at that moment. What self-conscious teenager struggling to navigate the awkward journey from child to adulthood wants to be thought of by her peers in such a manner? My whole head glowed as if it were a beacon atop a lighthouse.
The only other redhead in my small-town class was a blue-eyed jokester who frequently declared his romantic inclinations toward me in bits of poetry. Notes usually arrived on my desk crumpled and moist from my sweaty-palmed suitor. Once, he boldly declared his feelings in an English assignment read before the class. I was so lost in the near perfect iambic pentameter that I missed the message until the mention of his "red-haired love" made it clear to me--as well as the rest of the class--of whom he was speaking.
I blushed from embarrassment. He flushed with, perhaps, unrequited ardor. I feared there would be enough candlepower generated from our red hair and faces to illuminate half the high school. One thing is for sure: redheads blush best.
Psalm 139:13 (NIV) states "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." The Lord knit me together as a redhead––a fact that I struggled with most of my youth. Not having the coloring and complexion that was considered in vogue at the time certainly added to my teenaged insecurities. I wanted to blend in, not stand out. I wanted to wear trendy colors like hot pink, psychedelic orange and purple without my hair clashing clown-like with my clothing. And, I definitely wanted to be able to sunbathe to a bronzed brown rather than sizzle to a painful lobster-red in mere minutes.
Though my bright hair has darkened and dulled to a nondescript light reddish brown in the decades that have followed, I still identify myself as a redhead. I don't miss the teasing endured in my youth or the misconceptions of temperament associated with flame-colored hair. But being a redhead is part of who I am even if most of my reddish locks now come from a box. As I stand before the vast assortment of hair coloring products at the local Super Store, I feel compassion for the girls who want to cover their hair, and possibly insecurities, with a faddish color. But I feel kinship with those of us seeking to recover what we once had naturally.
It wasn’t until my walk with the Lord deepened that I finally felt comfortable in my own sensitive, freckled skin. Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV) was crucial to my self-acceptance. “...And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” I remember reading those verses repeatedly and thinking that if the Creator loved me to those expansive dimensions, then who was I to despise how He created me?
Lately, I have made this a prayer for my blue-eyed, brunette teenaged daughter who–much to my bewilderment--prefers to color her hair red.
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