Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Is Santa Real?

When we think of Santa, we think that he's a jolly, older man with a big sack of toys flung over his back. We think he's mystical, never really seen, but hoped for, at least for a time, until we become "wiser," and no longer believe. 

While at mass yesterday, our priest told a story of a "santa" who lives in Quebec, Canada. He doesn't deliver toys, he cuts hair. As the story goes, like the mystical "santa," he is jolly, kind, and has a beard. But his beard isn't white, and rather than a red suit, he is known for his distinctive tattoos. His shop is like a gingerbread house, but rather than candy, it's brimming with memorabilia that creates a sense of wonderment, a true treat for the eyes. 

Barber shop Abitibi

The story of this "santa" began in desperation, a mother who needed to find someone who could cut the hair of her autistic child. Autistic children need understanding as cutting their hair can be traumatic, the touch of a hand in their hair, the sound of the scissors, and the bits of hair that may fall upon their face can all be too much to stand. But, it was a task that Franz Jacob felt he could take on.

The appointments are scheduled for late in the day. The door is locked so no one will suddenly come in and shock the child. The lights are dimmed. Franz takes time to walk around the shop with the child and discover all there is to see, and then after a time, begins to cut the child's hair, but not in a traditional manner. He meets them where they are, and it may be lying on the floor.
Barber Franz Jacob has found ways to distract and relax Wyatt Lafrenière, who is hypersensitive when it comes to having his hair touched.

A haircut that would traditionally take no more than 30 minutes, may take up to 2 hours. He finds his reward in the smile of the child, and the look of relief on the face of a mother.  

His miracles not only take place in his shop, Franz reaches out to the terminally ill. He visits those who may only have another day or so to live and gives them one last trim, one last shave, and one last moment of feeling alive.

Regardless of our religious beliefs, we all long to believe that life is about so much more than just a typical daily routine. We long to see miracles. They are there, they can be seen, if only we look in a different way, if only we let go of the "wisdom" of age. So this season, if a child asks, "is Santa really real?," with confidence in your voice, you can say yes...yes, he is real. The magic can be experienced when we just allow ourselves to see the miracles that happen when one reaches out to another.

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  1. Tears fall, makes me proud to be Canadian in some way. What a lovely person he is.

  2. I believe.
    Thanks for a great holiday post.

  3. What a beautiful man.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Yes, the tradition of Saint Nicholas is real. The magic of selflessness and miracles of human kindness is what Christmas is all about.

  5. What a wonderful story. A few weeks ago, I saw an inspirational quote that read, "Sometimes miracles are just good people with kind hearts," and this story sure shows that.

  6. In the past year I've become a little cynical, a little jaded, and often little angry. I've stopped expecting the best in people, and started to expect the worst. This story brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my lips. This man is bringing good into the world.

    Maybe I shouldn't have been taken by surprise. I saw something similar just 2 months ago while getting a quickie cut at a local SuperCuts (no connection). An obviously nervous, frazzled mother came in with her developmentally delayed teenage daughter. Mom confessed that this would be her daughter's first professional haircut. The girl was nervous too, and had some moderately disruptive behaviors, but the stylist was incredibly kind and supportive. She showed the girl where she could get her hair washed before the cut, showed her the scissors and how they cut, and worked with the girl when she didn't want to lean back for a shampoo. By the time she was done, Miss Teen was delighted with her reflection and Mom was breathing a sigh of relief. Through an act of human decency and understanding that stylist mad the day so much better for 2 people who deserved a break (well, 3 people if you count me). I shouldn't have forgotten it. Thank you for reminding me, and rekindling the spirit of Christmas.

    1. Hi Kay, To know that this has helped you to have a change of heart, oh, just the best gift ever! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your message, and for sharing the story that you witnessed at the salon. With all the news stations, internet sites, and radio, we can easily begin to feel that all is lost. It’s not. Thank you Kay 😊

  7. What a great article! It's impressive when people recognize their calling!