Rev. Milton Gardner
The word “embarrass” has an interesting origin. It comes from an Italian word that means literally, “to put in bars.” In a manner of speaking, it would mean having done something that makes us feel like we are in jail. Embarrassment is accompanied by feelings of uneasiness of self-consciousness. Undoubtedly, most people have suffered times of embarrassment. Our faces flush and we feel others are sympathetic or entertained by our predicament.
My most embarrassing experience occurred while I was in high school. My Latin teacher planned a Roman banquet, complete with a meal at which we reclined on the floor. We supported our body on our left elbow and ate with our right hand. To be authentic, we were all dressed in togas. In reality, it was a bed sheet wrapped around our bodies and tucked in without the benefit of any fasteners — not even a safety pin.
My part on the program was to sing a song in Latin. The words were written on a scroll. We wanted to be as much like the ancient Romans as possible. When I got up from my prone position, I felt something slip. I tightened my body in an effort to keep my toga from sliding, but I could not. When I stood up, my toga hit the floor. Then I stood in my underwear before the class, featuring mostly girls. I was embarrassed and humiliated.
I ran off with the sheet wrapped around my lower body. The teacher followed me, redressed me and insisted I go back and perform my solo.
I have suffered many such moments over the years. Everyone knows when this happens to me, because my face turns beet red. Perhaps this is God’s warning to keep me from doing more things that expose me emotionally or literally.