Sitting on a bench alongside my friend in a sundown park, people, they are everywhere and we watch. Watch the milling about, the comings and goings. A group of boys silently step out of the overgrowth, walking slower than boys going any place at all, more silent than any collection of guys together on any August evening. And without a billboard announcing drug sales and drug use, 7 boys let the entire park in on what they’d been up to. Hiding.
I know this hiding. Our kids start young. Round eyes watch through soft blond lashes, little arms tight behind back. I peek round the little hider. Melted blobs of green, yellow, orange, red. Warmed M&M’s concealed behind brown smudged lips and chubby fists. It’s hard not to laugh just a little. It’s cute at 3. Not so cute thereafter.
What if boys and girls of all ages came right out and stated:
“I use drugs and sell it to my friends.”
“I sneak your credit card number and use it intermittently so you won’t notice”
“I prefer porn to people”
“I cheat on my taxes”
“I live in more of a house than I can afford so you will think I’m important”
Honest, and still not helpful enough. I’m thinking it’s not the lie that feels so worth hiding. It’s the action. And why, with all the variety of ways to think about life, with a wide range of taste in popsicle flavors do people choose to hide and lie about certain behaviors rather than just say “I’m grape, you’re strawberry”? Maybe lying is used for avoiding trouble. The law doesn’t support kids snorting coke in bushes. Doesn’t support streakers. The baby doesn’t want M&M’s taken away.
And still, at times we hide because we don’t like and don’t approve of the way WE act, and don’t want anyone who isn’t doing what we are doing to see us act the way we act.
Shame is a thing of the eyes.
It’s eyes catching the action of another person’s shame. Eyes seeing bottle downed. Eyes watching as item is lifted. Eyes that make pretese hiding so ridicules. We think no one can see our pretense, and then we parade it out for all. Never knowing.
What do I hate about my own actions? What do I think I hide from you – that indecent piece of me I’d rather die than let you see? The hiding I do is a waste. I’m not hidden. I’m announced. The knowledge of good and evil. The garden gift we all share. To see the shame of another, no matter how much we try to conceal.
Let my eyes be used for loving, no matter another’s shame I see. Let my own eyes notice my own shame – with purpose in mind. Let me allow kind eyes to peer into who I am, those healing eyes of knowing and loving anyway.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked. Genesis 3:7
Jesus looked at him and loved him. Mark 10:21.