Written by Hayley Ruffner
There is a plot of grass on the corner of Jeffries and Dawson in South Dallas. It doesn't look like much. It often has trash scattered around. A random shoe or boot may lay in the small field on any given day. But it also happens to be the perfect spot for a Street-Side Salon. With a little creativity and TLC, a pop-up barber shop starts to come to life. Drop clothes are laid down and chairs are set up. Tupperware bins full of clippers and trimmers are unloaded. The community begins to gather.
On Saturday, April 22, we hosted another street-side salon for our friends on the street. For two hours that morning, volunteer hairdressers donated their time and talent to refresh the looks and spirits of our friends. Two Dallas Police Department officers graciously volunteered their off hours to spend time joining hands with us, chatting and laughing with everyone. Families showed up with kids in tow to spend time building relationships and breaking down barriers. A friend of ours set up a rolling rack of clothes in the field so a new outfit could accompany a new hair-do. Another friend catered a hot breakfast, and we all gathered hands to pray before partaking in a meal together.
I looked around and took it all in. I took in the two women singing along to the stereo we had set up. One of them began to dance. I took in one man's jokes he was so proud to tell. I took in the tears one woman shed as she told her story of pain and redemption. Another woman prayed with her. I took in the way one homeless man served breakfast to the other homeless friends among us. I took in the kindness, the joy, the heartache, the gratitude. Emotions we find in any community that is living life together.
And as I took it all in, I began to see the radical transformation of this plot of grass. It was no longer an unbecoming sight of emptiness and discard. Rather, it became a beautiful pasture of community and collaboration. One haircut at a time. One shared meal at a time. One prayer at a time. One small act at a time, community changes things. Look beyond the brokenness to see the beauty- from plots of grass to people.