By Nicole Marie Hilton, November 7, 2019
Humility is a virtue and is supported by the Light. The dark side is adept at twisting humility into self-loathing and shame. They shame us after hurting us, they urge us to make missteps and then shame us when we do. They can even find ways to shame us when we make good choices. Shame is always from the dark side, and it should always be rejected.
Almost exactly three years ago, I was invited to babysit through the Care.com website for a very rich family up in the Provo hills.
The first time, the kids were sleeping and I was in the house alone at night. It was a veritable mansion. But I was so close to the Spirit then that I went around the house—completely free of all comparisons or jealousy—and blessed it from top to bottom. There were cameras everywhere, but I don’t think the couple saw me on their phone app or had any suspicions that I was doing anything weird, because they invited me back.
The second time I went to this home was around Christmas, and it was at night again. After the couple left—a statuesque blonde woman and her incredibly tall, dark and handsome husband—I sat around reading on the couch which was surrounded by exotic white-fur-covered settees. The little five-year-old girl was supposed to be in bed, but she softly padded down the stairs and approached me with her big blue eyes.
I was fascinated with her. It wasn’t her perfectly shaped face, Angelina Jolie lips, or blonde hair that fascinated me—it was her spirit. I could feel it.
“Why, hello princess!” I said.
“H…hello,” she said. She looked at me from under her lashes, and then tentatively smiled.
I had the idea that we should write letters to Santa. She got excited, and then pulled out sheets of white paper and colored markers and pencils.
We sat in the perfectly lit kitchen, at the pale grey designer table, and started our letters to Santa. Ignoring the markers, she picked up a pencil.
To my surprise, ten seconds into the exercise, she shoved the paper away from her, saying, “Oh no, oh no, oh nooo! It’s wrong. It’s wrong!”
“What’s wrong, honey?”
“I can’t do it. Look at it!”
“I think it’s a wonderful start to a letter!”
“No—it’s not perfect! I CAN’T DO IT!”
I’m sad to report that the little girl insisted on starting her letter over and over again, several times, each time crying and crumpling up or shoving away the paper and markers. Finally, she folded her arms in a decided stance that clearly said, my writing isn’t perfect, and therefore why even try anymore?
I tried to convince her that surely her writing must have gotten better since last Christmas—and wasn’t that an improvement? Wasn’t that something to be grateful for? And I expressed my concern that she was comparing herself to others who were probably older and more experienced.
“It’s bad! It’s so bad!” she kept on saying. Obviously, what this perfect little tow-headed girl was saying was…I’m bad. I’m bad. It broke my heart more than anything else that year.
Eventually, I distracted her with something to eat—surreptitiously taking a picture of the letter she eventually produced and discarded (it was adorable). Then, I took her upstairs to put her back to bed.
Well…this is where things got a little out of hand. Since I was in such a childlike state myself, when she didn’t want to go to bed, I didn’t feel like I could argue with her too much.
I imagine what the mother saw while checking her hidden camera app was us dancing around her daughter’s room—because, well, in our minds there was snow coming from the ceiling…and one must dance in the snow. And even if one could go to sleep while it was snowing in our giant snow globe…it would be impossible to sleep with fairies flitting about, inviting us to all sorts of parties, anyway.
It was 10pm when I heard the door open behind us and felt an enormous sense of foreboding and darkness enter the room. I turned around and backed up against one of the pink walls of the bedroom. The mother was a blur as she strode past me, grabbing her little girl’s upper arm—bodily throwing her across the room towards the direction of the bed, where she landed like a rag doll.
My mouth fell open—I followed the trajectory of the little girl until she landed, and I saw she was safe. Then I turned to face the darkness that threatened to suffocate me.
It wasn’t the mother who was evil—it was like there was an evil cloud around her, attached to her with cords.
She gave me a look that could freeze fire.
I slowly backed out of the room, as if before a wild lion. I backed down the stairs, saying, “Um…so we…um…wrote letters to Santa…”
Still, she glared me down, following me—stalking me out of her perfect house.
“Um…thank you…for…for this opportunity?” I lamely got out.
My blood was chilled. Her perfect model face held so much hatred. It seemed like her limbs were growing, and she was getting thinner, her cheekbones seemed to cut across her face like razors. As she grew taller, I grew smaller.
We walked—or she stalked, and I retreated like a scared wet puppy before her—past all the pictures on the walls, pictures obviously taken by a professional—capturing gestures of love and laughter, matching outfits and family rolling in the leaves or posed on beaches, sand between manicured toes.
I grabbed my bag and coat as I retreated, and she reached into her pocket and threw money at me. I gaped at her, and then disgracefully picked it up.
She opened the door and as I left, she slammed it behind my back. She hadn’t uttered a single word to me.
As I reflect back on the little girl’s face as she crumpled up sheet after sheet of paper, I see clearly what was written all across her face: shame.
As I think back on how I exited that house, and what feeling the mother instilled in me, I see clearly what was written across my heart: shame.
And as I picture that mother’s perfectly buffed and glowy face, I see what is behind the intense anger and hatred in her eyes: shame.