Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Seeing pictures of my granddaughter's prom last night stirred up memories from forty-eight years ago when I was in the sixth grade. Middleton Attendance Center was an all black school comprised of first thru twelfth graders - massive. Each year, every grade level voted for a princess with a twelfth grader as the reigning queen. I voted for my friend, Sherry, because she was clearly the most beautiful girl in all of elementary with locks that hung magnificently down her back, shiny white teeth, pleasant smile enhanced by dimples to live for - always dressed nicely. Did I say she was also one of the most brilliant?
To my surprise, Sherry voted for me and so did, apparently, most of our classmates because I won. SHOCK and AWE - for real! I had no expectations - was not even in the running. How could they make a terrible mistake like that? I was a keen student but in my opinion, not even pretty. Honestly, I was rather homely looking. My mother dressed me nicely, but bless her heart; she could not do hair - that didn't help. She was so horrible at it that I started doing it myself in fourth grade - at nine years of age. LOL! It still looked terrible but was an improvement and got better over time.
In a special school assembly, the winners were all escorted to the stage wearing our glamorous gowns, long white gloves - arms resting on the arms of our escort. For this special ocassion, my parents took me to the salon to get my hair done, but mama, unfortunately, allowed daddy to take me shopping for my shoes. I'm not sure what possessed her to do that. I could not believe my eyes. Daddy bought me penny loafers. Who does that? PENNY LOAFERS - to wear with my elegant teal gown that mama bought. The two of them were total opposites. The suits hanging in daddy's closet were from forty years prior - no fashion sense whatsoever. On the other hand, mama had a great fashion sense. Even though fashionista was not a word back then, she was definitely the epitome of it. Showing my displeasure to daddy would not have been to my benefit so silently, I suffered embarrassment and hoped that my formal dress would distract from my black loafers. That was going to be a little impossible ascending the stairs to the stage, which seemed to rise forever. With no other options, I had to smile and bear it.
Homecoming night, they chauffeured us to an illuminated football field. Since mama took me shopping for this one, I was pleased with my outfit.
To this day, it's mind-boggling that the classes voted for me. I remember seeing Sherry's face and the biggest smile radiating from it when the announcement came. I can't say it was a dream come true because I never dreamed of it. However, it was a rewarding experience and a pleasant memory in spite of the 'walk of shame' down the aisle in loafers.
In life, we will experience many 'walks of shame' with many regrets - wishing that we could rewind and start over. The good news is when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we can start fresh and new. He experienced the greatest 'walk of shame', 'The Via Dolorosa' - the painful way. His grief was the most painful and shameful of all as he struggled through on the street in Jerusalem - carrying his cross for his crucifixion. He was hung up for our hang ups.
Isaiah 54:4 Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
We may not always completely forget the embarrassing moments whether minor mishaps or major sinful regrets; we still have the covering of the Lord who casts our past away from us when we throw our lives at his feet. He suffered shame, so we don't have to.
Sherry and I reconnected the year my daughter passed in 2015. She found me and was very comforting - even more so when I learned that she met my daughter, KaShanta when she worked as a beauty consultant at the mall while attending college. I never knew that. Before passing, she started The KaShanta Sims Foundation which will help cancer victims look and feel beautiful in spite of their diagnosis.
My classmate is just as beautiful today - inside and outside - always smiling - speaking an encouraging word. She is a fulfillment of the scripture. In my estimation, she so deserved to be the winner, but she preferred me over herself. I'm still humbled by the experience. I felt so undeserving of the gift that was so freely given to me.
What a wonderful world it would be if we all adopted the attitude of Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
That is exactly what Jesus did. He preferred our freedom over his agony so much so that he laid down his life so that we could pick ours up.