The agony of a bad haircut is wrapped up in its irreversibility. There is no undo button, just the weeks required for re-growth. It was a frustration Bre Payton had recently come to know.
Bre had some regrets about cutting her hair short this fall. She said as much the last few times I saw her. It looked beautiful, of course, as any haircut or outfit or garbage bag would on her. She was naturally gorgeous, and strikingly so. The hair didn’t matter at all. But Bre was still eager for it to grow back out, a familiar impatience for anyone who’s ever been in a similar situation.
She didn’t have to wait long. When Bre left us last week, she swapped her earthly body for the splendor of a heavenly one, as 1 Corinthians 15:40 assures us the resurrected do. On July 19, 2010, just over one month after her 18th birthday, the teenage version of our departed friend tweeted another verse from 1 Corinthians. “The sting of death is sin, & the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” quoted Bre.
"The sting of death is sin, & the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
— Bre Payton (@Bre_payton) July 19, 2010
While browsing that same chapter of 1 Corinthians, she would almost certainly have come across Paul’s description of the resurrected body, resting just inches above verse 40 on the page. “Not all flesh is the same,” he explains. “People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.”
That should be at least enough to cover a regrettable haircut, but in 1 Corinthians 15:48-49, we learn even more. “As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.”
Death is about as irreversible as a bad haircut, in that it’s not irreversible at all. At first it may feel permanent, and the time we wait to be reunited with our long hair or our loved one may feel torturously drawn out. But these are earthly burdens, and Bre knew that well. For all her beauty in this life, we can be confident Bre’s heavenly image is even more stunning than her earthly one.
In those moments spent looking ahead, Bre had no way of knowing she would experience the splendor of that heavenly body long before her hair could grow back. But we can take comfort knowing it was a transformation she welcomed, one that is bringing her more joy than any hair style here on Earth ever could.