about writing and life and God

How silly was that?

on March 6, 2013

I am not double-jointed. But I am really good at kicking myself.

I wouldn’t say I have unreasonably high standards – for myself or anyone else. But the tendency to judge myself harshly and then apply a ‘good’ kicking appears to be my inevitable reaction to doing something silly.

Which I did today. I won’t go into it here. You’d shake your head, roll your eyes, and declare something along the lines of ‘What are you like?!’  The answer is: daft, silly.

Sage - the opposite of silly

Sage – the opposite of silly

So we all do silly things from time to time. But there is something about silly that is extra hard to recover from. An inner embarrassment.

I’ve been reading John 12:1-8, the report of Mary of Bethany breaking open that expensive pot of perfumed oil and anointing Jesus’s feet, then – shock! horror! – letting down her hair and wiping the strongly scented oil off his feet with her hair. Now the perfumed oil sounds nice, but I wouldn’t have thought hair was particularly absorbent to be used as a towel. Still, that’s what she did.

Sister Martha (for some reason I always think of her as big sister Martha) was serving dinner. As usual. Can you imagine her reaction? “Oh no! What’s Mary up to now? Letting the family down, breaking with convention, embarrassing us all! Can’t she just do what’s expected of her for once, be a good self-effacing female?”

Embarrassment: when somebody is observed breaking with social conventions or when we break a convention.

It’s uncomfortable. The people watching wriggle or writhe with this feeling. And when it’s us, it’s worse. You can’t look away – what’s done is done, no matter how much regretted or wished away.

Jesus died to take away our sins. Yes. How about our self-embarrassments? I think maybe those too. Those writhy embarrassed feelings shackle us to our mistakes and misjudgments. And Jesus is about setting us free from every kind of chain.

Kicking myself doesn’t help. Taking it to the Lord does. ‘I am so embarrassed, Lord!’

And he understands and forgives and gently points me back onto the road of love – for myself, and the rest of humanity.

Until the next time!


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