When You Realize the Camera is Still On
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. Genesis 3:7
Since Covid, like most of you, I’ve had to become familiar with video conferencing. Not long ago, I sat at my desk in one such meeting over the lunch break of a busy day in clinic, when I found myself multitasking, catching up on some of the day’s computer work, while also listening to the meeting. Halfway through the meeting, my ear itched, so I scratched it with my pen. I suddenly remembered that my camera was still on. Have I picked my nose in the last 20 minutes? I can’t remember. What other embarrassing things have I done? It was a few moments of panic as I realized that everyone may be observing me while I behaved as if I was completely alone.
Like most of us, I have behaviors I avoid when I know others may be watching. In my addiction, I did everything in the darkness of my proverbial closet. I hid my drug use from my friends, coworkers, and the world. In the privacy of darkness, my addiction gradually became just a normal part of my life. It’s not that bad. When, however, my drug use was dragged into the light, splattered on the front page of the newspaper, I saw things quite differently. In the dark, that hideous monster could grow to grotesque proportions, to which I blinded even myself. When it was hauled into the daylight though, and I realized that everyone else could see it, I finally saw my disaster as others did.
Though it didn’t involve Zoom meetings or drug use, Adam and Eve experienced a similar moment in today’s passage. In the narrative, the serpent had just lured them into eating the forbidden fruit. Up to that point, they’d been naked but unashamed because they didn’t know what clothes were. They lived at complete peace because they had absolutely nothing to hide from themselves, from each other, or from God. At the moment of sin though, everything changed. Then the eyes of both were opened. Suddenly they understood that they’d done something terrible, and they looked at each other with shame and embarrassment – for each other and for themselves. We’re naked. We must hide ourselves.
We often behave differently when alone than when others may be watching. In the dark, we’re tempted to normalize behavior that we’d be ashamed of if it was on camera. I’m still learning this, but I’ve found it’s a good rule to view a behavior from the perspective of others. How would I behave if I knew everyone was watching? If I’d be ashamed of that behavior, then I should probably abandon it.