A thin line separates fame from being an object of ridicule. Is it possible to turn our reasons for embarrassment into something to be admired?
I was the oldest grandchild.
I was born famous, the center of everyone’s attention. If slogan t-shirts had been popular, mine would have said, “I’m the favorite.” I was the most loved son, grandchild, and nephew, because I was the only one.
A year later, the competition began.
My baby sister arrived. I thought she was cute until she wanted to play with my toys and expected all the attention. I was no longer the cute youngster. She was. My father spent way too much time with his daughter. With no one to dote on me, I learned to play alone.
In the 1950s, a man doing a woman’s work was embarrassing.
But to compete for attention, I had to do more than play cowboys and Indians. I did embroidery and learned to sew on a button. Twenty years later, I told my wife I knew how to sew. I had never pieced together a dress, but I boasted that I could. She didn’t believe me. “If you make it,” she said, “I’ll wear it.” So I made it and she wore it. Just once. It was a bit tight in the sleeves.
Embarrassment can be paralyzing.
I joined the marching band, and that meant being part of the halftime show during football games. As I marched onto the field for the first time, the announcer had great things to say to the stadium crowd. I felt sure my parents had found the clarinets and knew where I was. Nobody else cared, but that was okay.
Walking while chewing gum is easy.
Keeping step while fingering the keys was a major challenge. As I played, I kept marching straight and was halfway to the goal posts before I realized I was alone. I had missed my cue to turn with everybody else. While the announcer commented about my spectacular one-man show, I ran back as fast as I could, wishing I could hide.
Mistakes are my claim to fame.
I became famous in a way I had never expected. Instead of being embarrassed, I took the opportunity to learn and improve. I chose not to be paralyzed. Everybody makes mistakes, but few people can boast of stealing the show like I did.
I can be thankful for my mistakes, because without so many, I wouldn’t have a pile of interesting stories to tell.
When it’s our nature to hear and obey God, we don’t have to feel condemned. That’s because we’re not living to satisfy our flesh, but we’re seeking to be led by the Spirit. — Romans 8:1