Shame

Pity Megan and Harry. I do hope it works out for them. Whatever happens they can rest assured that everybody has an opinion, and that most people in the UK, from our friends on the news channels to the local pub up the road, will have vented it. A friend of mine once went to the loo before he preached and forgot his microphone was on – he came back to cheering from the congregation! But just imagine doing that in front of the nation with the boos and cheers of the Football Crowd of life ringing in your ears.

We pride ourselves on being non-judgemental as a culture, but open up the tabloids and shame is writ large. Somehow we can never escape the hissing of the pantomime, and for most of us humble folk we live safe in the knowledge that our lives are so nondescript that it will never happen to us.

The closest I ever got to the pillory of life was a few years back when the Liphook Carnival was on. Fortunately we decided not to go, but we were surprised to hear a lot of loud Dongs emanating from the parade, like the bells of St Pauls had suddenly appeared in Liphook. Apparently the Deer’s Hut in their wisdom at the height of the bell ringing debacle had decided to dramatize it as part of the carnival parade – with a mad vicar at the front and a huge donging bell on the float. It was really funny. But I was so pleased not to be there!

Yes Shame is even alive and well in Liphook. Alive in our pubs, in our coffee shops, in our schools and care centres, in our supermarkets and in our homes. We probably spend a lot of energy ignoring it. Perhaps, like the cast of Eastenders we catch ourselves in conversations justifying and vindicating our own behaviour. If this is you, know that shame is probably part of your life as well. Like fear, it lurks in the background a powerful emotion with hugely negative consequences. But if that’s you know this. Crucifixion was such a shameful death that Romans didn’t even like to talk about it. When our Saviour stripped naked, completely alone and pinned to a cross was pilloried by the crowd in some profound way he was dealing with your shame. Know this and be free.

Valentine Inglis-Jones