I walked out of Sally’s* salon telling the Lord that I
couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t be Sally’s friend and keep talking to her
Sally was my hairdresser for 25+ years. She went through extreme difficulties: a child addicted to heroin and in jail, a divorce that left her in poverty, a boyfriend who kicked her out of the house with nothing, debilitating migraines and back surgery. Every time I went for a haircut it seemed her circumstances had gotten worse. At times she listened to me tell her about her need for God. At times she led others in the salon to make fun of my faith.
I gave her large tips, I bought her clothes and food when she didn’t have any, I remembered her birthday and brought Christmas gifts. I shared the gospel with her. I invited her to Alpha 6 different times. But the darkness of her life and the hardness of her heart made me want to give up and find a more pleasant place to get my hair cut. I heard the whisper of God’s Spirit say to me, “You can’t give up. You are the only one telling her about Jesus”.
So I was still her friend when she was about to be evicted from her apartment. My church graciously paid her back rent and that triggered something in her heart. Now she wanted to come to church. Now she would come to Alpha.
Sally didn’t talk during Alpha. Sometimes she fell asleep during the video. But I picked her up for every session and she always came. Alpha finished and nothing happened, at least from my human viewpoint. I remember praying, “Lord, now the crisis is over and she is going back to life as if you didn’t exist.”
That Christmas Sally was diagnosed with advanced brain cancer. She had maybe 6 months to live. I went to the hospital, sat by her bedside and begged her to make peace with God through Christ right then and there. Sally got still. She closed her eyes. The minutes passed. When she opened her eyes she was a different person. She said God told her that her kids would be OK and she was at peace.
Sally’s disease progressed rapidly. She quickly lost much of her cognitive ability. But she loved to listen to me read the Bible to her up to the very end. God gave her a spirit of joy and no pain during her last days on earth.
Sally died in May. Our church provided a funeral and luncheon for her family and friends. They all had experienced a changed Sally and heard about the God who wanted to change them, too.
I find myself missing Sally and thinking about all God showed me through our friendship. God can change the hardest heart. God can give us the ability to be friends with the most difficult of people. God uses His Church to care for those we care about.
My hairdresser now is a believer, so I have begun several new friendships with women in my exercise class.
Story to be continued…