A week or so before my diagnosis, our family had a Lord of the Rings movies marathon.  Hannah LOVED watching them!

I’ll circle back around to that in a minute.  But first, let me remind you about this straight hair of mine that I’ve that I’ve battled all my life.  It grows straight into my face.  I’ve never liked wearing it down, unless it was permed or otherwise made to look messy.

Well, Hannah thinks my straight hair looks Elven.  Lord-of-the-Rings kind of Elven.

So the other morning before school, we made a date for her to “do” my hair like Orlando Bloom – the actor who played Legolas – in Lord of the Rings.  I committed to wearing my hair straight.  All. Day. Long. Frankly, I thought I was going to hate it.  I was wrong.


Hannah set up a chair for me to sit in in the bathroom and gently began pull back my hair into a braid.  I do not know where she learned this skill – I think I am a pretty good mom, at least I try to be, but I have never had many tips to give her in terms of how to do hair, nails, or makeup.  I have always been tomboy. Why would anyone want to bother with makeup when there is a tree to climb and football to play?

Hannah braided my hair like a pro.   She didn’t bunch it up in a knot when she pulled it back like I’ve always tried to do – she just swept it back off my forehead and somehow made it flow down the back of my head.  It felt nice.

And it looked nice, too:


She even made sure to leave a couple little whisps of hair in front of my ears for dramatic, Elven effect.  And she used a hair straightener, very gently, to further straighten my straight hair.


Suddenly, I found I had been transformed from tomboy with tumor into the Elf, Legolas:

Compassion: Being transformed into an Elf

Ten years ago or so I read a very good book called Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life by Henri Nouwen, Donald McNeill, and Douglas Morrison.


I came away from this book with a new idea for me at the time: that compassion was just about being with people.  It’s not about trying to solve their problems, not necessarily doing something about the issue at hand, and definitely not having glib or even a well-thought-through or wise answer to a persistent or aching question.  Compassion is just being with someone when they could use companionship, for whatever reason.  It is making sure they are not alone.

Hannah and I were just messing around, having some fun, and hanging out together on the morning of the Elf hair.  But I was really receiving a pretty awesome example of compassion from my 12 year old.

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5 years ago

This is beautiful. I am smiling ear to ear and tearing up a bit at the same time. The love of a mother and daughter is so special.

5 years ago

What a beautiful time for both of you..
We are praying for you.
Love Jack & Donna

5 years ago


Nicole Clarke
Nicole Clarke
5 years ago

Love the final photo of the two of you!

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