this is an actual vision that i had last week. i wrote it down.
Shame and I visit often. Most of the time she shows up unannounced and demands tea. I’ve learned just to keep a setting for her at my table and to make sure that I always have her Earl Grey handy.
This afternoon, as I pour hot water into her cup she goes on and on about how she can’t believe how much weight I’ve gained and how I don’t seem to be loosing any even though I am dieting. She points out that her saucer is chipped, and that my hair is unusually dry and she asks me if I changed my face wash. When I reply “No”, she laughs and says maybe I should. I take a mental note and then sip some tea.
Halfway through the conversation she asks how I am doing.
“They asked me to teach. I am nervous.”
Her brow narrows furiously. “They asked you?" Shame replies stunned. “Why in the world?”
I shrug and hide behind my cup. Then she begins to remind me of all the other countless other times when I was asked to speak and teach and begins to pick them apart. “Do they know how you have the capability to screw this up just like those other times?” She asks almost rhetorically. I shrug again.
At this point in the conversation I know the love topic should be coming up soon. I start bracing myself for it. My eyes dart away from her hallow sockets. “That color isn’t flattering on you.” She replies tossing her long, black lustrous hair behind her thin bony shoulder.
“I know- I, uh…” I quickly begin to defend, “My other shirts are in the wash.”
“That’s so like you,” She retorts, “waiting till last minute. And do you know why?” She doesn’t wait for me to answer. “Because you are---” Then Shame purses her lips and pronounces exaggeratedly, “L-A-Z-Y.”
I bow my head in her presence. “And what’s this I hear about you liking someone?” She inserts. There it was. I knew it was coming and it still caught me off guard! I nod shyly still not picking my head up. “Well? Details please.” She demands.
“He’s kind and his eyes reminds me of Jesus but-”
She interrupts abruptly and finishes my sentence, “BUT it will never work!” She tilts her head with pity and then sizes me up with her cold eyes, “Look at you.” She pauses letting the sight of me sink in. “Humph…Haven’t you learned by now? I thought we were through this already. He could never love you. You aren’t good enough smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough…” She continues shooting a detailed list of past relational failures and then the world around me begins to fade away. I am reduced now and so I stare into my tea cup feeling guilty about everything including the fact that I put more sugar in my drink than should have. I sigh.
Then… a knock on my door. Shame’s right eyebrow raises and she stops in mid-sentence. “Who is that?” She asks. I shake my head innocently. I truly had no idea.
“This is our tea time! No one else is invited.” She declares with disdain. I shoot up quickly, grateful for the distraction.
There at the door is a new guest. I am a little confused.
“I am here for tea…” The guest announces. Without another word he is seated at our table and grabs himself an empty tea cup, pours himself some tea and then proceeds to put the same amount of sugar in his cup as I have. “You guys can go on.” He says peering from behind the cup contently. He motions for me to continue by nodding in my direction almost disregarding Shame.
Her face is stunned. She begins to stammer, “Well, we weren’t expecting guests.” She grunts.
He holds out his tea cup to admire it. In my embarrassment I make an excuse for its shabbiness. He shoots a warm glance at me and smiles. “This is a wonderful tea set. Isn’t that right Shame?”
She is cornered and suddenly afraid. “Um…” She begins.
He interrupts. “I think the set is wonderful because the owner is wonderful. Maybe they’re worth more because of who owns them.” He looks at the cup once more. “Lovely.”
No one said a word. No one had to. Then suddenly Shame politely excused herself. It was the first time she had been polite all afternoon. She grabbed her red cashmere sweater from the back of her chair and rushed toward the door. I waited for her usual sarcastic “See you soon” but she left without a word. Then it was just me and my new guest. The room was still but unusually comfortable and I suddenly realized that when He was speaking earlier He was referring to more than just my tea cup.
“Is your name Worth?” I asked my new guest taking a guess.
“No.” He stated confidently, “It is in my Name that you can find worth. Shame will think twice in visiting if you continue letting me in.” He winked at me and then took another sip. “Ah, that’s good.” He said savoring his drink. Inside, I began to agree.