Sara bought these shoes from Plato’s closet. Cute as hell, but she is not a heels girl and I am, so she offered them to me right before my trip up to Pittsburgh to help with dad after his stroke. Was it a good life choice to bring them as my single pair of shoes for a trip for which I did not buy a return ticket? Maybe no. Did I daily steal medical tape to cover my poor little tootsies to keep them from bleeding? Yes, but only for a week. At the end of the week, I had built up some nice attractive calluses that would keep them from bleeding anymore.
So imagine my devastation when, one day, Dad asked, “Why do you wear those shoes? They’re terribly awkward!” He did not stop there, he went on to pick apart the rest of my wardrobe of that day, but the shoes comment really bit, because he had no idea the pain that I had endured for this particular fashion statement.
I wish that I could tell you that I’m the type of person that could just “walk it off”, but I’m not. As explained before, I’m a bit much! A lot of people don’t care for the high maintenance, but, as a narcissist, I find myself adorable and terribly amusing and so worth the effort. And Dad used to, I think. I’m not sure if I changed or he did, but it seems like I really annoy him now. That’s OK, I suppose. As the meme goes, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and Lisa was a terrific buffer. Statler without Waldorf is, well, annoying and this lonely existence is my fate.
So imagine my shock and hysteria when a man at least as old as Dad stopped me in the grocery store to tell me how “neat” my shoes are. I grinned like a Cheshire cat the rest of my time in there. People in Pittsburgh don’t grin, so I think I really stood out, but I felt like somebody was looking out for my silly old feelings that the stoic side of all of us thinks I should ignore.
A few days later, a nurse belted from down the hall, “Oh my God! Tell me those shoes aren’t the cutest thing!” I told her what had happened with Dad, told her that I shouldn’t be taking fashion advice from a 76-year-old man, and she said, “Those folks up on 3 (dementia unit) have plenty of advice for me!”
Now this morning at church, a man my father’s age, probably somebody he knows, stopped me on the way out because I was wearing flip-flops, “Where are those cute shoes that you’ve been wearing that I love so much!?”
I don’t mean to illustrate the shortcomings of my earthly father, because he is a good, good father, but more to show that, just like Simon Peter affirmed the Lord 3 times, so has my Heavenly Father affirmed me. Yes, shoes are silly, but in my heart, it’s bigger than that. I see so many struggling with faith, but it takes such little effort to see the beauty and the miracles around us every single day and the impact of the smallest kindness on a stranger. And in my simple silly little mind, God talks to me through shoes and for that, I will be eternally (I hope) grateful!