I made a mistake.
Driving s l o w l y in front of the CVS, I was checking the sign on the door to my left to see if the drug store had opened yet. Because I was a little distracted, I failed to see–and yield–to the woman standing behind a person in a wheelchair to my right who was apparently waiting to cross the “crosswalk.” Even though I was nowhere close to them and they were in no danger, the person wagged her finger at me and screamed, “SHAME ON YOU!”
I was horrified and mortified. All the ‘fieds.
That was, like, five years ago. I can still feel the shame wash over me like it was five minutes ago.
This is a screenshot from Monica Lewinsky’s “15 Minutes of Shame” documentary (click to enlarge). I have a similar photo I took myself of that spot in Venice a couple of years ago, which I can’t find right now.
“Be Love. Be Beautiful. Be Kind.”
It’s a simple message that seems to be increasingly challenging in our online world. In the documentary, if you pay attention to the weeping, regretful, hand-sanitizer-hawking human when he says, “Someone was nice to me”—you see that it’s not just heartbreakingly challenging in our online world, it’s our world.
After watching “The Social Dilemma” film a while back, and now having watched HBO’s “15 Minutes of Shame” yesterday—along with seeing some of the Facebook whistleblower testimony before the Senate hearing this week—I wrestle even harder with my own engagement and love-hate relationship with social media. I was troubled and then moved by the HBO doc, particularly the ending and the wise words of Loretta J. Ross regarding our humanity:
“We overuse calling out in situations where being less punitive can actually become a more effective strategy. And even if the person is wrong, you can offer them the grace of being wrong about it.”
Shaming someone doesn’t lead to positive change or healing. It’s metastasizing cancer.
It’s the grace that changes and heals.
And washes clean.
I make mistakes.
And I’m going to keep looking for the picture. I know it’s somewhere.