“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.” Isaiah 54:4 NLT
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” Brene Brown
Yes, there can be shame in widowhood as well as in youth. I’m sure it was much worse during Isaiah’s time. Through no fault of my own, I felt shame attending functions where couples were in attendance laughing, cuddling, and delighting in stories of vacations, children, accomplishments. Some of the shame was from a raw void, grief, awkwardness and inadequacy. I was just a crippled half of a couple. I have a dear friend whose son died at the tender age of 23 years leaving a baby and wife behind. She, too, struggles for acceptance and normalcy. Her “what-ifs” are tremendous. And shame. Shame that we should be more and do more. We are not God. We cannot prevent the tragedies that come to all.
There is a tale of a woman who suffered the loss of her husband and was stuck in her grief. A spiritual leader told her to go house to house to obtain some rice but only from those who have never experienced a tragedy. Needless to say, she came home with no rice and was amazed that everyone suffered from some calamity. I think this lesson is true for shame too.
Belonging and community can be scarce, yet so necessary. We must ask, seek, knock. Risk.
We black sheep, scapegoats, ne’er-do-wells, losers and other nefarious types have shame, but those who seem to have it all, do too. Truly.
With work, patience, prayer and community, some glimmers of the real you comes to light. Are you an encourager? Generous? Truth-seeker? Believer? Inspirational? Talented? Athletic? Nurturing? Creative? Optimistic? Hardworking? Insightful? Youthful? Spiritual? Good-looking? I see these qualities in you and I’m making them mine as well. I’m still a work in progress and will be till I’m with the Father. The work is to become more like his son. And it is work. God transforms but I must willingly participate. I must surrender shame. Is shame an insult to God for making us the way we are?
Thank you that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Help us to internalize this as we go about our day. Help us to reflect this to others. Help us to not react or internalize when criticized or dismissed but to see these as an opportunity for love, growth and transformation. When we fail, grace.
Our cups runneth over with good things and gratefulness.