I was reading Brene Brown’s new book, Rising Strong, while working out this morning. She was talking about how we move beyond the memories and experiences of shame that we have had in our lives. One line in particular grabbed me – she said that virtually all of the research she has done found that the vast majority of people have some experience of shame from their schooling that has had a profound impact upon them. As I read this, I immediately thought back to something that happened in 6th grade math class. We were taking a test and I finished up pretty quickly. When I finished, I started doodling on another sheet of paper and I drew several pyramids in the desert – something similar to the picture that I am using for today (which I drew for this post). It wasn’t anything fancy – just doodling. My teacher came by and saw me drawing and asked if I was done with the test. I replied that I was and he picked up the test and proceeded to grade it right then and there. I missed a few, but did well. However, he then decided to use this as an object lesson and picked up my pyramid drawing and shared with the whole class that, if I had taken time to go over my answers once again instead of drawing these pyramids, I would have gotten a better grade. As I remembered this event this morning, I can remember the embarrassment, shame, and anger that I felt in that classroom. I don’t remember drawing a lot after that time as I used to do.
It has taken me about 30 years to come around to finding some of the creative spark that may have been snuffed out that morning in math class. I find such joy in my photography and the way that my creativity and imagination can be sparked by my time with the camera. But it has taken a lot of getting past the shame and embarrassment of that day (and potentially other experiences that I don’t remember right now) to a place where not only do I work on creativity on my own but am willing to put it out for others.
When I came into my office after one of our worship services, my oldest son had drawn a series of pictures entitled “Ways to say hello” – there was a Minion, Baymax, an Ewok, a Jawa, a human, a pug, and a bunch of other critters he drew. The sheet is sitting in front of me as I write this. I pray that he never stops drawing – never stops finding a way to express his creativity and imagination.
This connects into the leading I am feeling about my sermon coming up this Sunday. As I look at the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19, I see Jesus inviting himself into Zacchaeus’ life – its not necessarily that Zacchaeus has asked him to come to his house – but Jesus just comes in. Zacchaeus was likely not a great guy because of the actions of many tax collectors (after all, he confesses to swindling people toward the end of the passage), but yet Jesus says, “I want to come stay at your house” and pronounces that salvation has come to Zacchaeus’ house. I am thankful that Jesus comes into the life of someone like Zacchaeus, even with his faults. I am thankful that Jesus came into my life, even with my own faults and my own shame and my own brokeness. Jesus comes into our lives and reminds us of the claim that he has upon our lives and he is willing to lay claim to even the most broken of lives.