Shame is one awful companion. He doesn’t always show himself after I do something stupid, but he often shows his face when somebody else does something silly. Like when a friend talks too loud at a restaurant or starts doing a funny dance down the sidewalk or sings (out loud!!) in the store.
I’ve learned a considerable amount from those people who are able to be themselves, to be free in public or amongst friends. It takes such courage to do so, especially when your friends or the locals are not known to favor colorful expression beyond a certain hue. Here in Minnesota, we do well as lifelong stoics–color us grey and we call it good.
But sometimes, those feet just gotta paint the floor, those melodies weave a tapestry and those words, ahh…they’ve just got to be drenched in emotion! And it’s okay.
In chemistry, we have learned about how electrons either absorb or emit energy within an atom. I would like to think of myself as an atom, absorbing this energy, this life of the people around me. More specifically, I would like for my person, to be an absorber of embarrassment. That these people around me who let themselves be at rest, to be free to express their creativity or their words in my presence, would not feel ashamed or foolish. Rather than pretending I am too suave for their hilarious anecdotes, I will laugh along and find the irony. Rather than pretending my ideas are more important, I will admire the simplicity or complexity of their perspectives and solutions. Rather than shrinking away, I will dance along, I will practice singing, because Lord knows I have much to learn with that blessed instrument we call voice.
There have been sweet souls who have absorbed my shame over the years. My Jesus has been the best at this.
I would like to live this legacy which has been planted in me.
I would like to make my presence, home to others.
A dear friend made an observation a few years ago. It was about a good friend of hers, who was full swing in wedding plans! She observed that though this friend was silly and showed it, her fiance and long time sweetheart, didn’t turn red and hide his face in embarrassment for her or himself in her company. Instead, in the middle of those noisy moments, amongst friends and family, his eyes have gleamed with delight toward his silly-making friend.
I have, yet, so much to learn.
This is a great place to begin.