The Union Recorder

September 4, 2013

HODGES: A proper view of ourselves

Dr. Jay Hodges
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A sweet lady in Fairburn, Georgia used to cut my hair. She worked in a little shop with three other ladies who cut hair, and right now I really do not remember how it was this particular lady cut my hair; but I went back to her faithfully every time I needed a hair cut.

One thing she never did — after she was finished, she never took a mirror and walked behind me to ask, “How do you like it from the back?” I knew it would be fine, and after a while it just did not occur to me to wonder how it was in the back.

I moved from Fairburn to Stockbridge, and it was too far to continue going back to get my hair cut. So I went to a Fantastic Sam’s to get a haircut, and the girl finished, took a mirror and walked behind me to ask, “How do you like it from the back?” I looked, and I nearly jumped out of my chair!

When I got home I asked my wife, Linda, “Did you know I have a bald spot on the back of my head?!” I didn’t know I had a bald spot. All this time I thought my head was completely covered with hair. No male I could remember in my family ever had a bald spot, and now the back of my head was bare. I could feel hair back there, but it was far less than I used to have.

I am now able to joke about it. “Remember the cowlick I used to have on the back of my head? Well, it fell out!”

But for a while I had a pretty bad time with my self-image. I was aware that I was losing some hair from the front - not bad, but receding on the sides. There was just something bothersome about losing hair on the back of my head, and I began to worry that the loss in the front would join the loss in the back. I had always been proud of my hair.

Self-image is troublesome for us most of our lives. When I was a teenager I was terribly skinny. When I went to swim in a public pool I would hand a towel across my shoulders because my ribs showed and my shoulders were bony. A basketball coach told me once that when I fell on the floor it sounded like a sack of bones rattling across the floor. That did not help my self-image at all.

How we look on the outside to others has always been important to most of us. Some of us are now overweight, and we wish we could lose some weight. Some of us have lived long enough that body parts seem not to be in the same places they used to be, and that is somewhat worrisome. I heard a guy sing a song recently that was titled, “I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore!”

We are usually taught when we are young that it is more important what’s on the inside than what is on the outside, but I doubt many of us believe that very much. It is true, but how we present ourselves to others on the outside makes us think about who we are on the inside, and often the two don’t match up.

God sees us differently than how we see ourselves. When we do even a cursory appraisal of who we think we are, we come up with faults and shortcomings and we wonder how anyone can like us very much. God does not see those things like we do. God sees what God has given us already to make our lives good ones. We have gifts and strengths that we can use to not only help others but can also make us happy with ourselves.

Some of us can sing, and when we have the opportunity to sing with a group of good singers, not only are we making good music for someone else to listen to, but we are also expressing the happiness of our soul. The same can be said for art work, for mechanical work, woodworking, and on and on. When we use our God-given gifts and abilities, a little hair loss in the back becomes less and less important.

Dr. Jay Hodges can be reached at