I was in the local tuxedo box in the local mall getting fitted for my oldest son's wedding with my youngest son in tow. A pudgy little man with a measuring tape was busy at work on me and the young boy was messing around somewhere nearby, out of sight as young boys are apt to be. Suddenly the pudgy little man with the measuring tape and I jerked with a great startle as a huge crash boomed out behind us, followed by a mannequin's head rolling across the floor between us, then rocking to a stop with its glassy eyes gazing upward. The pudgy little man looked angered, and then I turned around to find my boy. He was not in sight. He had quickly climbed into a rack of tuxedo jackets, right into the very center, closed off from the world and shrouded in the protection of this black cloak of slightly warn wedding attire. Safe, alone, isolated, hidden in the darkness, unable to do or think of anything other than the horror of his unforgivable screw up.
It was a rare moment for me because the next few seconds of life could have gone a bunch of different ways. Odds were that I would have dropped a four letter word or two, dragged the boy out of the rack and scolded him to tears. But instead, I looked down into the middle of that tuxedo rack and right through his big wide puppy eyes on the verge of shedding tears, right through the fearful face, and I immediately saw right into his heart. I connected with him and for a moment, it was like all my past screw ups flashed before my eyes and I was right there, in the middle of that tuxedo rack, right there with him. What did I see? I saw the crippling darkness of shame. I felt the weight of a head hanging low, bent down under the mountains of shame.
Next, I did something that really surprised me, I reached into the center of that rack, wrapped his little hand up in mine, and gently guided him out into the open, into the light, and then these words came out of my mouth:
Boy, don't you dare feel ashamed, all you did was make a mistake, just admit it, apologize, and move on. There is no reason to feel any shame. Never hide in shame.
I shocked myself on that one, that was way above my normal level of daddyness. But it stuck. You see, just like you, Billy Hill has made a lot of mistakes in life and can quite easily be crippled by shame, shame from internal voices as well as those external ones that we can all do without.
Shame steals, kills and destroys. It isolates, it abandons, it debilitates, it cripples, it incapacitates.
Shame is rooted in fear, the fear of being found out, the fear of not being accepted the fear of not being loved.
Shame is the tool of bullies, manipulators, controllers, dictators and . . . .
Shame can take on many forms to accomplish its work and it has been cleverly disguised in our world today under the name of Political Correctness.
STEP OUT OF THE TUXEDO RACK, admit, take the power of shame right out at the knees, own it and stand in confidence that yes, I am human and I make mistakes but I will NOT let you force me to cower in the dark corner of shame.
Billy Hill here, I like it neat.