Blanket of Shame

A blanket of shame covers me.

I was given this blanket many years ago.

It covers the sin.

It covers the nakedness.

It was so warm for so many years.

Under the blanket, I hid.

It never mattered that the threads used to weave the blanket were lies.

It never mattered that the dye for the shades of gray were my tears.

It only mattered that it covered my nakedness.

It only mattered that it covered the sin.

 

No one could see me under the blanket, and I liked it that way.

I could see them, but they could not, would not ever see me

And I liked it that way.

I went nowhere without my blanket.

I wore it constantly.

If I ever took it off my nakedness would show.

The sin would show.

 

There were times when I longed to shed the blanket

And twirl around and dance.

But I dare not.

They would see.

At first, it hid the nakedness,

It hid the sin.

But eventually, it covered my face.

I could not let them see my face.

They would look in my eyes and see.

I covered my face,

Until I had no face at all.

 

All my life I have wandered in the blanket of shame.

I have felt the threads of lies brush my cheeks.

I have heard the whispers of the lies rustle against my ears.

Reminding me of the sin.

Reminding me to hide.

Reminding me to hide my face, my eyes,

 

I let the blanket drop on occasions

When I thought it was safe.

But the gasps I heard when the sin showed,

When my nakedness showed,

Were too great to bear.

 

Oh, how I have longed for the day I could shed the blanket

And not hear the gasps, not see looks of unbelief on faces.

Oh, how I have longed for the day the blanket is shed, and I find

Open arms to comfort instead of eyes that shun.

The very same eyes that scream,

“Cover that sin, cover that nakedness, I don’t want to look.”

 

And so, I have grown accustomed to my blanket of shame.

 

You see me…. you think.

You look at me and think you know me.

But what you see is not me.

You only see the blanket of shame that has become my face

Has become my eyes

Has become my life.

 

My Savior knows my shame,

He bore it on the cross.

He died to remove the blanket of shame that I wear.

Yet he knows I do not have the strength to let go.

He knows I am weak.

So, he secretly meets me beneath the lies.

He once again robes himself in the shame to come to me.

He gladly does this for me,

Because he loves me.

He sees the sin and does not shun.

He sees the nakedness and does not gasp.

He comforts me in secrets places beneath a blanket of shame.

Because he knows I cannot bear to look into any more eyes that scream,

“Don’t look. Cover up. That sin is ugly.”

 

Maybe one day I will find the place where it is safe to shed.

Maybe I will meet the one that will see and not gasp.

Maybe I will find the place where my Savior and I can dance

And twirl and the threads of lies are gone

And only the soft breeze of the wind will whisper in my ears.

 

But, a blanket of shame covers me.

I was given this blanket many years ago.

You see me…. you think.

You look at me and think you know me.

But what you see is not me

You only see the blanket of shame that has become my face

Has become my eyes

Has become my life and it distorts my view of everything.

This poem was written eighteen years ago, a decade after beginning a faith journey of following Christ. And the words of this poem rang true for many years after it was initially written.

There was always this sense of both sorrow and life in the same space. The experiences of everyday life brought days of joy, but in the same body was this awareness of the woman under a blanket of shame. Two women, one body, one the world saw and one only she and God saw.

The strangest part was the seduction of familiarity of the lies. There was the awareness that the woman under the blanket was not created to wear the sorrow conceived in shame. But the sorrow also felt oddly soothing at times.

There was always an understanding that a day would come, and a choice would be required, choose to face the world head-on with no lies or decide to stay hidden.

Then, there was a whisper in the night, “I have set before you life and death. Which do you choose?”

The time had come. It would seem an easy decision to make. Change and live or remain and slowly die. Life is the most desirable, right? Truth is better than lies, right? But familiar and survivable become enticing companions, not easily abandoned.

When all was said and done, life won. Not in a moment of grand shaking or deep awareness where the hairs stand up on the back of the neck. Just a moment of decision, a moment of risk, followed by everyday tasks of everyday life.

That is until the awakening and a moment of knowing the blanket is gone. Somewhere along the journey it drifted away gently fluttering to the pavement unnoticed. And in that revelation, came new life. The old dry bones brought back together, sinews knitted into form and one glorious moment of the breathing in the winds of new life.

What lies do you need to shed? What dark secrets need to lose their grip on you? Change is frightening, but regret is even more frightening. Even still, the choice remains yours.

Cheryl MillerComment