It’s only a week back to school and I’ve already heard “Where’s my other shoe?” twelve times already! Can I get an amen from any other moms out there?! Now let me explain: we have a very small entrance to our front door that spills out into our ‘open concept’ kitchen and living room. I do not have a mudroom. I do not have an enclosed porch. There is no room for shelving, no hooks or fancy baskets. I have a few shoe trays and a small closet that homes our collection of winter coats and boots, and a large amount of hockey paraphernalia. I have tried to organize and tidy our shoe collections… but we have six people in our family, and live in Canada, where all four seasons can accumulate into one week, so we have a giant pile of shoes at our front door. And it seems to be growing.
Believe it or not, they are not all my shoes, either! Despite being the prime aged woman, I do not have a large collection of shoes. I have worn the same plastic sandals since April. For every occasion. It’s the rest of my family that has created the pile! Elementary school requires two pairs of shoes per student: one for indoors and one for outside. Then there are flip flops and hand-me-downs, and dress shoes, and athletic shoes that are only for this or that sport, or running, or “the lucky pair” only for games or tournaments, or the ones that still fit but have a giant hole or broken shoe laces. Oh, and then the hubby has a casual dress pair and a fancy dress pair. Plus the hiking sandals, and the green stained ones for cutting the grass. Seriously, we have shoes for cutting the grass.
I also have teenaged sons. Yes. Those of you who have lived this stage know what I am talking about… the stink. The lingering odour of one-too-many-soccer-matches or the accidental slip in the creek that allowed some feisty bacteria to breed a large set of offspring. I could run a level 4 biohazard lab at the World Health Organization headquarters with the contents of those shoes. Those blessed runners rest outside for a day or so before they are allowed to find refuge in the pile.
And so I have been musing. One about how blessed we are for gracious people who share hand-me-downs. Two, about how fortunate we are to live where seasons change and how lucky we are to have multiple pairs of shoes and boots that accommodate the weather. Many suffer for basics, let alone for a set of shoes for “special occasions” (or cutting the grass). My mind has wandered through phrases like “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” or John the Baptist’s statement about being “unworthy to untie even the laces of Jesus’ sandals”. *Giggle* I even watched some Youtubers trying to recreate Cinderella’s glass slipper run down the stairs. (Technically glass shoes are very hard to run in!)
I’ve concluded that shoes may give us a glimpse of our deeper selves. Our “journeys” so to speak. Biblical shoe references speak of ties that bind (pun intended) and of contracts. Athletes claim the shoe can make or break a performance, as do ballerinas who spend hours breaking in their slippers. Cinderella and glass slippers indeed. And you, my friend? Where have your shoes taken you? What journey have you walked through that has made you who you are? Who’s sandals are you not worthy to untie? Are you blessed to have a full closet? Does it inspire you to see others in a new light?
For these reasons, I will remind myself to rejoice as I tidy up the pile at my front door…or yet again…search for the lost shoe that has run off on it’s own under the couch just before we are off to school. And contemplate the day when the pile will be diminished and only my plastic sandals will sit at the door, and then, it will be tidy, but I will be sad.