I've learned that sin and black eyes have a lot in common.

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.

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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: