by Lici Roth. Alicia (“Lici”) Roth is a native of Peru. After 15 years living in different parts of the US, she now enjoys life in small town Kansas. Lici has a degree in economics and experience working in health promotion in marginalized and migrant populations. Now, she’s on the journey of radical homemaking. She enjoys gardening, preserving, biking and doing occasional medical interpreting.
“Let her do whatever she wants to you,” said the ten-year old to her sister one Sunday morning when they showed up on our doorstep before church.
I had asked if I could braid her little sister’s hair.
“Why?” I asked
The older, “wiser” sister answered, “Because it’s you, and we trust you.”
It was true, they did, even the little one who only three months ago, when she got reunited with her older siblings, wouldn’t even shake my hand.
As a mother of two boys, I enjoy getting the chance to work with girls’ hair. But this particular morning was interesting–it was the first Sunday after I had a haircut that went bad. Earlier that day I looked at myself in the mirror and thought: Lord, Why did I get lost in translation with my hairdresser? Seriously? I mean, I’m not that focused on my hair, but do you really want me to waste my Sunday morning trying to tame this puffiness? And then the girls showed up. It was only after I finished the second round of braiding and combing that I realized God had showed me that I have a choice for using my morning. Here was the better portion, the God-honoring way to spend a few minutes–and it was a moment of simple joy and humble grace. We went out the door–them with braids, me with puff. Thanks be to God!
For the last two years of my life, I have defined myself as a radical homemaker. OK–I don’t dry my clothes outside (because of my allergies). I don’t make my own hormone free, grass-fed, raw-milk goat cheese. But I’ve claimed radical as an adjective for my stay-at-home, More With Less, question the consumerist status quo lifestyle. For me, it’s about getting back to the root of what matters–the radix in the radical. I focus my time and energy on being attentive to my family, church, and community. I make my home–a dwelling place for us and God, a place of unhurried conversation, and breaking bread, and showing friends how I cook with kale. It’s a refuge for little girls with tangled hair. Since my husband is a pastor, I can also take time to be present to people in need. We sit by hospital beds and in living rooms and share the privilege of hearing people’s journeys.
This is a choice. It’s what I’ve decided on for now, and it hasn’t always been easy. Especially at the beginning, I mourned the loss of my previous career in migrant health promotion. I struggled to re-define myself beyond my résumé, all the while Facebook constantly nagging me that my profile is “incomplete” without a work-place. And we’ve been blessed to have enough on one paycheck. Not everybody has that. I know.
But we do all have choices. One of the things I have come to realize is that if I’m going to live a life that matters, it’s going to happen in the choices I make about how I spend my time and money (and money is really just condensed time). Part of the problem, I think, is that a lot of us don’t imagine that things that matter are happening right now, in the present tense. Meaning is for the future, when we go to Africa or something. Of course, what this really means is that we don’t honestly believe that God is present now, in the present tense–and we live accordingly. That’s our choice.
Are we harried? Or do we have time to brush a little girl’s hair?