My love affair with Shoes
No! It’s not what you think. My love affair with shoes is not about a desire to aquire stacks of beautiful shoes. My love affair with shoes is simply about my need for finding shoes that are comfortable enough. My love affair with shoes is my desperate search for a pair of shoes that I could wear and say ‘Ah! This is it. I found the one’.
My feet are not those that could have won any awards for their beauty, their structure or their usefulness. They’ve been feet which have given me many challenges along life’s journey. ‘Blame your parents’ said my doctor, with a grin. I’ve often asked for a new pair of feet for Christmas but none have been forthcoming … so far. (Perhaps this Christmas? Anyone?)
Twelve years ago, I found a lovely pair of shoes for just $40 – they had been marked down to half price. They’ve been probably worth closer to $4000 for the value I have got out of them over the years! The shoes were made of a soft navy blue cloth and with bright blue plastic pieces securing the cloth on each side. They had attractive, dark blue lacings. I have worn my blue cloth shoes over and over again. They were the perfect shoes for spending the whole day in. Comfortable. Easy on my feet. My ideal pair of shoes!
As the years rolled on, I wore them more and more. Finding other shoes which were equally comfortable wasn’t easy. There were many plush, expensive shoes which seemed perfect when I tried them at the shoe shop. But once I got home, they made my feet hurt. I spent many hours and days looking for another pair of shoes exactly like my perfect pair of shoes. Sad to say, this particular brand of shoe didn’t seem to exist anywhere anymore.
As my perfect shoes got older, I found that they were ideal to wear at home because they even beat my thongs in the matter of comfort. During the past few years, I’ve worn them constantly at home, through the winter months and even in warm weather. Sad to say, my perfect shoes are now falling apart. And so, I have tried hard to replace them. I’ve bought about 7 or 8 other pairs of shoes to wear at home. Each time, I hoped the new pair would replace my comfy shoes. Did they? Alas, no. But not for lack of trying.
There was these smart shoes which I bought excitedly over the internet. I was sure they were the ideal replacement. But no – they did not deliver the goods. Next, I bought a floppy soft home shoe. They were OK - but no – they weren’t a patch on my old shoes either. I found a comfortable men’s shoe that seemed ideal for a little while. Sadly, I had lots of pain when I kept wearing it. I found a fresh pair which were nicely padded. ‘Is this it?” I wondered! No, it wasn’t! I found a really lovely light pair of sneakers on my last trip to Sri Lanka. Would they do? Nope! They didn’t do it for me either.
One day, as I reflected on my perfect shoes, I realised something interesting. I had hunted high and low for the perfect shoe but never found one to replace my now “old-floppy-ugly-torn-dirty-but-quite-the-perfect-shoe”! It reminded me about my search for a perfect Person in life. Just as years of hunting revealed that there are no shoes that could replace my comfy old shoes – I’ve also learnt that no human being could ever replace the One Important Person in my life.
I knew that in my head for years. But it’s only in the last few years, that it became stamped indelibly on my heart. God has shown me its truth through many varied life experiences. We human beings sometimes have a way of leaning on other people to take the place of God in our lives, don’t we? We often try to fill the God-shaped-vacuum inside with someone or something apart from God. Perhaps a spouse or a child? Maybe a friend? Or perhaps not someone but some thing. Fortune? Fame? Work? A hobby? Money? Achievements? It’s easy to do, isn’t it?. But a costly mistake. No one else and nothing else could ever fit in into the space meant for that One Person.
No one could ever be a Saviour but Jesus. No one could fill the empty spaces inside my heart as Jesus. No one could guide me through life like Jesus. No one is a better at loving me than Jesus. No one could heal me as Jesus does. No one could ever be the perfect Friend as Jesus. No one would be there for me always, like Jesus.
I would like to think that I can be all things to all people. But it is true to say that I will fail others sometimes. I will often fall short. You see, I am human. I would like to be there for all the people in my life all the time. I could do that some of the time, for some of the people. But never all of the time for all of the people. No! I couldn’t. I would set myself up for failure if I tried. In the same way – no other person on earth could be all things to me either.
And so I’ve learnt over the years to lower my expectations of people and instead place those lofty expectations on God alone. He can take it. He has strong shoulders! If I expect people around me to never disappoint me, I will soon be disillusioned. If I expect them to never make a mistake – I would be in for a surprise! People have the potential to sometimes stuff up. If I expect others in my life to be always available – to be always understanding – to do the right thing every single time – I would be disenchanted soon enough!
With God – it is a different ball game altogether. I have expected all of that and I have never been disappointed. His word says that He is a faithful God. And He is. He has proved it to me. He’s One I can count on. Always. One who neither slumbers nor sleeps. One who protects me. One who leads me out of harms way. One who surrounds me with loving kindness. The One whose death and resurrection paid the price for all of my sin. The One who gave me a brand new start in life. He even gave me a new family. And hope. Life. Joy! Love indescribable!
My shoes? Yes, I have many shoes – some look good – some feel good – some are OK to wear for a little while; some for a longer period. All of them were bought with much thought and care. I appreciate them and wear them at different times. But none can match my comfy 12 year old pair of shoes which were my ‘perfect shoes’.
My family and friends? Yes, I have many in my circle whom I love dearly; they too love me and care for me. They are special. They bring joy to my heart. I love spending time with them. Life has been richer for their presence in my life. But none could ever match my Lord, my Saviour, my King, my Best Friend who’s name is Jesus.
‘My love affair with shoes” was my desperate search for a shoe that I could wear and say ‘Ah! This is it. I found the one.’ But it was very different to my love affair with God. You see, I didn’t have to search for Him. He was always there. Seeking me.
And He found me!