Graduation Celebration Part Two - Shame as a doorway to grace

Songs & Stories From Home Episode 10

This Podcast talks about how and why I went back to college to do the work to obtain a degree. My family story is similar to many.  My grandfather came to America so his children could have an opportunity at a better life. His children and/or their spouses became doctors, dentists, professors, and engineers. I was doing some talk therapy in 2002 – more than 30 years after I had left college without a degree – when I realized that there was a part of me that was ashamed to not have gotten a college degree. Over the years I’ve discovered a number of things that I was not conscious of that in ways defined and controlled me. When I did become conscious of them, they were there for me to define and in ways to gain control of. For me that is a very important concept and fact of life. After becoming conscious of my shame, I realized that the shame was in many ways self-inflicted. I chose not to return to college. My wife gave me a degree of her own making that reminded me of the gifts given out by the Wizard of Oz to the Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow. Like Dorothy I also finally had the power to be “home” with my choices. 

Things changed again when I became part of some Civil Rights Pilgrimages connected to the Communication Department at the University of Washington. That Department is where my transcripts had been for nearly half a century. My connection to the Communication Department and people that worked there made going back to school feel like a “family affair.” It turned to out be a challenging, rewarding and satisfying experience. 
Shame played an important role in my story of going back to school. More and more it appears we are living in an increasingly “shameless” society with our current President’s behavior being a nearly daily example of shamelessness. The truth is when we become capable of acknowledging our shame grace becomes possible. 

This Podcast ends with the song “Nineteen Sixty-Eight.” That’s the year I left college to become a member of The Brothers Four. It was a most significant year for me personally and for our country collectively.  

This is the 2nd of 10 Podcasts that will share the Graduation Celebration