“Shoes.”

I have a pair of shoes. 

One is called “hope” – the other, “dreams.” 

I put on these shoes every day 

They are still my favorite

They go with every outfit

They are just broken in enough to fit me comfortably every time I slip them on. 

When I first got them, they were shiny and pretty 

And I couldn’t wait to show them to everyone

Their heels clip-clopped on the floor as I walked,

Loud enough that everyone knew I was coming.

Now, they make a dull thudding sound instead.

I still love them, but they are faded at the edges.  

Perhaps I love them even more today because of it.

They feel less pretentious now. 

It’s easier to fit in when your shoes don’t blind people with their shine.

Sometimes people talk about my shoes

I think their heels are probably too tall for me, 

I don’t like to tower over others

It’s very grounding to have to look up.

So, sometimes I take them off

And I feel a bit freer

But something about being barefoot makes people uncomfortable as well

So, I always put them back on – worn and tattered though they are. 

They are good shoes. 

They support my weight and compliment my appearance

They’re good shoes.

 I remind myself of this as others remind me, too.

Then, one day I realize the heel has worn down to the metal of “hope.”

I hear clip-clopping again as I walk – but now it’s an obnoxious grating sound of metal against concrete, and not the comforting echo it once held.  

Soon after, I notice the front of the sole has come away from the leather upper of “dreams”.  It makes a “flip-flop” sound as I walk.

 It’s embarrassing. 

I find myself instinctively dragging that foot as I walk

and tucking it behind me to hide it when I sit down. 

No one wants to see floppy dreams. 

But I keep wearing them.  They are so comfortable. 

Those who love me are starting to ask if I really should be wearing them still.  

I don’t listen. 

I shove my feet into them daily like a binged pizza into an addict’s mouth, and oh the rush of relief I feel when I realize they still give me the same high they did when they were shiny. 

Then, one day they start to bother me.  

The insoles smell and are in tattered shreds. 

I remove them and pretend the shoes are still great.  

No one knows that inside I’m walking on rubber and penny nails. 

My pinkie toe gets sore every time I wear them now.

I start to dread putting them on, and I long for the evening to come, 

so I can take them off. 

They don’t fit anymore.

 That’s the truth.

“Dreams” is giving me a limp, 

and there is now an actual hole in the sole of “Hope”

I pray every day it doesn’t rain.  Because, when it rains, the foot inside “hope” gets so dirty and cold that I’m bitter for days about it. 

And then one night, I have a dream.  

Jesus asks for my shoes. 

I hold them tightly and shake my head violently.  

They are my favorite, I say. Please don’t take them. 

He tenderly places his hand on my shoulder and promises that he knows.

His eyes are so kind, and his touch so gentle.

I hand them over to Him and He disappears from view. 

I feel like years go by, and I’m so worried I’ll never get my shoes back, 

but when I awake – it’s just now morning. 

The sun is peeking its pink and orange freshness over a crisp fall day. 

Fall. 

It rains a lot in fall.  

Muddy leaves. Bare trees. 

My favorite shoes were always there to weather this season…

until they weren’t. I’m glad I won’t have wet feet today…but…

I wish I had my shoes. 

And then, I see them.  

Tucked under the bed – my place of rest. 

Their shine blinds me for a moment 

as the morning sun glints through the window and spills its light onto them, 

But as I slide them out from their hiding place, I see what He has done. 

A new sole. 

No more fear or shame that people will see it flopping.
I can walk without dragging my dreams now.  

The heel is replaced. 

The sound of hope has the comforting and familiar echo again. 

The edges look tidy – the faded leather, somehow has a new tint…it’s so similar, but so much richer and warmer than the tint it had before.  I like it so much better. 

The insoles are lambswool….and my feet feel just as free inside these shoes as they ever did barefoot.  It’s unnerving. 

And there is something else…. laces.  

That’s new.  

My shoes didn’t have laces before. 

They were the kind of shoes you could slip on without hands. 

But, as I reach down to thread and loop the laces, I realize I feel so very secure in these shoes, and I know that lacing them up every day will remind me of how wonderful and strong they are.  

What a smart idea – these laces.  

I get dressed for the day, and the shoes look better than ever – not blinding in their shine, but just enough glint to catch your eye and make you ask – “Who made your shoes?”  

I happily tell everyone about the day I gave my favorite shoes to Jesus and he gave them back to me better than ever. Everyone is impressed and they all want to know how to find him…because they have favorite shoes, too.

I tell them he came to me as I rested.  

I tell them to put their shoes under their bed and just rest

and I promise he will meet them there. 

He will. 

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