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Overcoming Shame

“Pop, do you want to sit with me for a bit?”

I’ve been asking my father this question since I was a kid. My father knows that what it really means is, “Can you sit down, rub my feet and tell me a story.” I’m 30 and it’s still one of my favorite parts of my visits to my parent’s house.

My father’s stories are often set in his hometown of Barahona, a small town on the southwestern coast of the Dominican Republic.

Today my father told me a story of shame.

At the age of seven, my father was tasked with earning a peso everyday for his family. He would leave his house at sunrise and set out to sell 50 pastelitos (a Dominican dish similar to a Mexican tamale) at 2 cents each around his hometown. Despite his age, he knew that his family desperately needed his financial contribution, so he would often skip school if he was unable to sell all of his pastelitos before the morning school bell rang. Sometimes my dad would go as much as a week without attending his classes.

In the evening, his classmates often asked him where he had been, but my dad would make up a story about an illness or visiting a relative. The truth was just too shameful to tell. He was sure that his friends would never associate with a street kid.

One day, after an unsuccessful morning, my father decided to skip school and try his luck at selling pastelitos on the other side of town. Unfortunately, to get there he had to pass by the schoolhouse, which he tried his best to pass unnoticed. Suddenly he heard, “Hey it’s Felipe! And he’s selling pastelitos!”

One of his classmates had seen him pass by the schoolhouse.

A lump formed in my father’s throat as he continued his walk to the other side of town. He didn’t know how he’d be able to face his friends again.

“Wait!” the same voice yelled out.

My father spun around and he saw his friends and classmates running towards him, coin purses in hand.

My father sold out of pastelitos that day and for many days after that.

Today my father told me a story of shame. I was reminded that shame is crippling and it can keep you away from the things you most need.

But I was also reminded that my Savior took my shame long ago and hung it on a cross. And when He sees me carry it, He calls out my name and He runs to me.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17, NIV).

Jael Amador writes from New York

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About Jael Amador

Jael Amador

writes from New York, New York.

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