As Mormons, we believe we should learn from our mistakes.
So here's what I learned after giving myself a black eye.
I learned that sin and black eyes have a lot in common.
They cloud your vision.
They make you self-conscious.
They force you to avert your gaze.
Last week, while leaving a ballgame, I walked into a full-length window.
The sound startled everyone within 20 yards.
Two cashiers came running to my aid.
The blow left a lump above my eye the size of a ping-pong ball.
I knew then I was in for a black eye.
I didn't blame myself, I blamed the window.
Sin and black eyes, it seems, can send you careening into denial.
If you're not alert, they blindside you.
"I'll call the medics," one cashier said.
I looked at all the gaping faces surrounding me.
"No," I said. "I'm fine."
I wasn't fine, of course.
But like sin, giving yourself a black eye can be so embarrassing you refuse the very help you need.
Pride is not only a sin, it's an enabler of sin.
I sat stunned on the ground for a few moments, making lame jokes.
Someone offered to get me some ice for my eye, but I said I didn't need it.
But as I walked to my car, my eye began to swell shut.
I should have taken the ice.
I should have gotten some help.
Sin and black eyes make fools of us all.
Once in the car, I started the engine and lowered my head so the cold air from the air conditioner blew across my eye. It seemed like a good idea.
Then someone banged on the window so hard I bashed my bad eye against the dash.
A young woman was peering in. She thought I'd had a stroke.
"You OK?" she said.
"Just peachy," I said, and waved her along.
There is a right way and wrong way to deal with sin and black eyes.
If you try a third way — like air-conditioner therapy — you'll just make matters worse.
Thankfully, I didn't have any more mishaps.
But today I've spent the evening groping around in dark glasses.
I live in a half-lit world.
I feel like a creature in the depths of the sea.
I suspect everyone knows what's wrong with me, but they don't dare say anything.
I live in a world of shadows and suspicion — a world of my own making.
Sin, and black eyes, alas, will do that to you.
Jerry Johnston is a former Deseret News staff writer. "New Harmony" appears every other week in Mormon Times. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org