Greg and I started dating in Summer 2011, just after hockey playoffs. Although we had met in January of that year at mutual work meetings, I took on a new role and had not attended the meetings from April and May. This is hockey playoff season, as I came to know after we got married. During this time, many hockey players and hockey fans allow their beards to grow. One only shaves if their team drops out of contention. By the time the June meeting rolled around and I saw him again, Greg had shaved.
A couple of months into dating, I mentioned I liked beards. Within a few weeks, he grew a full one. His beard was glorious – can I just say how handsome it was on him, and still is. He enjoyed not shaving and I enjoyed looking at it – win for both. Since I was a little girl, I have liked beards on men – it comforts me. For a long time, I didn’t understand why until I began digging into why I favor the things I do, both good and bad.
When I started uncovering why I do the things I do and like the things I like, it opened a world of self-discovery of my own inner psychology. Bad and good habits, happy and unhappy thoughts, stressors and relaxers, each rooted in something tangible – either experience or DNA. Nurture and nature are the proponents in my quest to seek answers to what makes me tick.
I favor things like a full pantry, a full gas tank, and a hoard of toilet paper – those things that if one would run out would create major anxiety. Early in my adulthood, there were times when money was tight. Sometimes, I had to choose whether I or my young son would eat – he ate before me every time. I would beg my red 1989 Ford Probe to “make it one more mile” to the gas station as I gathered the spare change to put in a few more gallons – back then it was $1.15/gal. Toilet paper – well, let’s just say napkins and tissues are not proper replacements, but do in a pinch. (even the picture above gives me anxiety – breathe!)
Now, we keep a full pantry – this makes Greg feel secure, too – and tanks of gas are celebrated with a large Sumatra coffee and giant fountain drink from Sheetz. Toilet paper – well, let’s just say I discovered Amazon’s Prime Pantry and I get those smiley boxes ever so often full of the fluffy white rolls. Each bathroom has an overflowing supply of toilet paper – I make sure of it. No one ever should do without a Mega roll of tightly wound Cottonelle close by.
I dug deep into my memory to find why I like beards. My father was clean shaven, since he was a Virginia State Trooper for the first half of my childhood and a pastor the second. I believe he grew a mustache when I was a teenager, but never a full beard. Could it be Santa Claus’ beard? No. Not that either.
After much inner reflection, I came to a conclusion: There was a television show back in the 1970’s called “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams”¹, a spin off from the movie of the same name and based on the fiction novel by Charles E. Sellier, Jr. The main character, loosely based on a real person – James “Grizzly” Adams, was played by actor, Dan Haggerty, who sported the same full beard as the character in the book.
Grizzly Adams was iconic to my eight-year-old self. A man of nature and wilderness, he was someone the animals could trust. He would bring no harm to any of them and was their champion. He lived a life alone by human standards, but was never alone with his companion, Ben, the orphaned grizzly he nurtured. I believe I associated these gallant qualities with his beard – the sight of his beard gave me a sense of safety and comfort – and it was spectacular.
One of the first things I felt with Greg was safety and comfort, even before he had the glorious beard covering his handsome face. I felt protected and secure. This led to the sharing of my innermost self with him from day one. I wanted him to know all about me – the good and bad, the victories and failures – everything. He was who I’d envisioned as I watched Grizzly Adams decades before – a champion with a strong kindness, a protector and someone I could fully trust. The sense of comfort I felt back then in front of the TV, I enjoy feeling the same with Greg.
I could spend the rest of my life figuring out the whys and how-comes to so many parts of my personality – it would take an eternity for a full understanding. I trust God to lead me with purpose and resolution. When I am brave enough to venture out for this type of self-discovery, God brings understanding and healing. A Divine quest – this discovery of self and re-discovery of the Christ-self. When God guides me to understand who I was and why, and then who He wants me to be – more like Jesus – I begin to see who He created me to be – in this case, a woman who is comforted by the beard. Hey, I realized – portrayals of Jesus show Him with a beard, too.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
1 John 3:2 NIV
¹THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GRIZZLY ADAMS
In-text: (“The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams”)
Your Bibliography: “The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 May 2017.