Where Would You Like Your Eggs?
No, not how would you like your eggs? We're used to that question. And we've got a ready answer. Over easy. Sunny side up. Scrambled. Not how but where would you like your eggs? My hunch is this: not on your face.
To have egg on your face is to be totally embarrassed over something you've done. It's to mess up royally in front of a bunch of people. The expression may have come from theater performances long ago; if an actor was really pathetic, he'd get pelted with rotten eggs. Yeah, some likely splattered on his face. Or the saying may have come from the telltale sign that the family farm dog had been raiding the henhouse; despite his happy licking, liquid yellow and white could be seen oozing from his chops. Yeah, even dogs can look guilty when they are.
Nobody likes to be embarrassed. No one enjoys feeling ashamed. The culture in which we live is loaded with triggers ready to launch rotten eggs in our direction. And it's apparently always been that way. It's fascinating to learn about the kinds of things that were considered serious social faux pas centuries ago. They were there. And everybody knew about them. And most everyone cared about them. Because no one was interested in going around town with egg on his or her face.
So, there's a story in Luke gospel that's not in the other gospels. It's in chapter 11. And it would almost be comical were it not for the eggs aimed at the faces of the characters. In fact, it could almost be like a knock-knock joke. Knock, knock. Who's there? Linda. Linda who? Lend a hand, will ya? Mine's tired from knocking! (Ok, I read that one online). Yeah, lending a hand is what the story is about... on one level anyway. It's midnight. A guest shows up. There's no bread to offer. Major shame trigger poised to launch. Run to the neighbor's house. Knock, knock. More triggers set to go off. You see, if the neighbor doesn't help... well, the yolk is on him.
There's another good story in a book written by W. Paul Jones. He was a burned-out Methodist preacher who took time off to live in a monastery. He worked in the eggery. Get the connection? The monks had nifty machines that would load eggs into cartons just like that. A dozen at a time no less. Until they got a new one that would handle thirty at a time. The first three times Jones used the new lifter it was like a dream. The fourth was a nightmare. Instant omelets. Jones' confidence was shattered. His anxiety soared. The eggs might as well have been all over his face. About it all, he writes, "I thought of how each of us needs the healing of memories. It does not take many failures, rejections, losses, putdowns, until the memory is wounded. A black and blue memory becomes the filter for narrow and tentative imaginations on the present, blinding us to the future. The Spirit must cure such remembrance through a reconstituting acceptance." (The Province Beyond the River). Yeah, it's rough to go through life without the healing we need. Of course, we can always ask... Knock, knock. Who's there? Ima. Ima who? I'm-a standin' in the need of prayer! (Ok, I made that up).