Today I laugh too, of course. Back then, I was closer to crying. It was my first public experience confronting the hyena named humiliation.
Sentient beings, we carry scars as we walk the world seeking healing in kindness, in a gentle dawn or in the soft bed of evening.
You know that if you do something wrong or foolish before others they will dress you in sackcloth. Under the guise of the myriad lynch mobs society creates, they will target you with one of life's most painful conditions.
Other than hopelessness, humiliation may be the hardest brew to swallow. Its fiery taste scalds the ego & burns the skin red.
It scares the heart into hiding. Yet, this agony can enable nobility.
Power-holders know myriad ways to demean. Organized religion has demonstrated a peculiar talent at creating methods of humiliation. It needs supreme punishments to keep its perceived miscreants in line.
The Puritans favored casting heretics into stocks, branding adulterers with a red letter & dunking witches in ponds. Amish & Mormons, Catholics & Protestants, Jews & Muslims all have their ways of humiliating "non-believers."
Hospitals unintentionally degrade the ill with patient gowns. Society intentionally punishes convicted criminals with striped uniforms.
Where is Beauty? Where hides God's Love?
Two millenniums ago Romans (& some Jews) wondered how to humiliate a heretic of heretics, a man who arrogantly claimed to be the Messiah.
Since Jesus claimed to be God's prince, Pontius Pilate's minions mocked him with a crown of thorns & made him carry his own cross to his own crucifixion. Above his head they nailed a sign ridiculing him as "King of the Jews."
Jesus met calumny with nobility & his death with grace. He replaced humiliation by men with humility before God and thus offered a supreme example of strength. Thus, Peter chose to be crucified upside down.
Shelley wrote, "Thy light alone - gives grace and beauty to life's unquiet dream"
Can that light above anchor your boldness against the dark of a sometimes unforgiving world below?
-Erie "Chip" Chapman
Snapshot: "Top row - Chip & Ronnie. Bottom row - Martha, Wheelis girls & Jill"