Thursday, September 16, 2004

Walk Of Shame

In college I was introduced to a campus phenomenon entitled the "Walk of Shame." (for some reason, I hear the low, echo-y, booming voice of "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday" when I think "Walk of Shame" in my head) The "Walk of Shame" isn't just an action, it's a look. It's Saturday night's perfectly painted eyes smeared across Sunday morning's (or rather, afternoon's) swollen, hungover cheeks. It's black pants and lace tops amid pajama bottoms and sweatshirts, high heals dragging across unfamiliar sidewalks where many sneakered feet find well beaten paths. It's a hung head and shoulders slumped with a weight heavier than any backpack on campus, because, of course, it couldn't be a "Walk of Shame" if it wasn't also an attitude. Thankfully, I didn't have the kind of social life that ended in walks of shame; at least not of this sort. See, I've come to realize that even if they aren't from frat parties gone awry, my life has nevertheless seen many walks of shame.

In thinking about this walk of shame concept, I recalled a story from my college pastor's own education at a Christian university. His walk of shame included dress clothes and pajamas as well, but with pajamas in the minority. You see, at this particular Christian school, the Sunday morning cafeteria teemed with well-dressed Christians analyzing the morning service. Showing up in pajamas, a sure sign that you had slept through church, warranted many stares, whispers and quite possibly, an intervention from your concerned brothers and sisters. However, my pastor would simply try to get around this uncomfortable situation by sleeping through church and then simply getting dressed up for lunch!

Isn't that just like us, instead of fixing the "problem" we simply slap a coat of paint on it and call it a done deal. There have been many a morning (and afternoon and evening, as well) that I wish I could cover up my social iniquities by simply changing my clothes, washing my face or slapping on a new one. And there have been many an occasion when I've tried.

My walk of shame doesn't always have a stock shape, size or situation. My sense of shame mostly occurs from letting others down: not being the successful genius my parents hoped, not being the creative creature my heart cries out to be, not lifting a finger in the pursuit of godly life. Of course, all of these are overstatements. My parents are proud of me (um, I think), I do try to be creative and my God knows that I am a faltering child, yes, but one who is trying in earnest-- giving at 100% of the 60% I have to give. And, as I was reminded this past Sunday, even through all of this, my faux pas, my downfalls, my inconveniences and embarassments, God says He is not ashamed to call me His. And when I forget, He says it again.

"You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve," said Aslan. "And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content." ~Aslan, Prince Caspian, The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 4