Story by Verna Stutzman

Cedar Hill, TX
Oct 23, 2000


I knew I had to hit the ‘shame’ issue dead on. That’s why I wrote the previous email. If Jeremy is right and he gets a ten-year prison sentence, imagine the following scenario played out over and over again for ten years!

“I’m glad to have met you. Do you have kids?”

“Uh, yes, we have two boys.”

“Oh, where do they live and what do they do?”

“Well, Jason is the oldest and lives in Greenville, Texas. He’s married and they’re expecting their first child in February. He and his wife own their own home just outside of Greenville on a 10-acre lot. He works at Raytheon as a software engineer and makes almost twice as much money as Robert and I do together. They’re very involved in their church. Jason plays drums on the worship team and they lead a College & Career Bible study and…”

“And your other son?”

“Jeremy. Oh say, do you want to go for lunch sometime?”

“Sure. Where does Jeremy live?”

“Uh. He’s in California. Where do you like to eat?”

“Oh, Arby’s or Wendy’s. It doesn’t matter. What does Jeremy do in California?”

“It’s a lovely day today, don’t you think? You know, Jason was telling me the other day about…”

As parents, we want to be proud of our kids and we feel best if we’re equally proud of all our kids. I’m not there yet, but I can feel the hugs, kind words, and prayers of my friends holding me…loving me…healing me.

I’ve experienced a few traumas in my life and I’ve noticed that when one experiences a trauma that is loaded with ‘shame’ – like a family criminal/suicide, an accident/disease or other situation that causes abnormality in appearance/behaviour, etc. – one needs hugs and words of affirmation even more than when one experiences traumas that are neutral with regard to ‘shame’ – like a natural death of a family member. The reason is that ‘shame’ whispers lies like, “You are unclean, worthless. People will avoid you, throw you away.” But on-going hugs and kind words of affirmation from people with skin on, exposes these whispers to be the lies they are, until the lies finally cease.

Thank you for your hugs, kind words and prayers. Thank you, Jesus that you carried my shame for me.

PS The list of charges at Jeremy’s recent arraignment was so long, he couldn’t remember them all. His bail has been increased to $565,000.