If the shoe fits . . .

Last night, a new acquaintance began telling me about his recent experience buying sandles. He walked into a store last week, found a pair that he liked, and then asked the clerk to bring

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him a size 10-and-a-half and a size 11. He explained that his shoe size was 11 but that his experience with sandles was that they are often a little bigger than the size professes.

The clerk returned with two pair — sizes 10 and 11. “We don’t have half-sizes,” he reported. My new friend tried on the 10 “just because it was there” and was amazed when it fit perfectly. Curious, when the clerk left to ring up his purchase, he grabbed the contraption that gauges feet and found, indeed, his foot measured a size 10.

“I have a closet full of size 11 shoes,” he told me, “and now I’ve discovered that I’ve been buying the wrong size — most of my life!”

While I found the story interesting, I didn’t have a clue of his rationale for telling it. Until he added, “I’ve learned a lot through this experience. It seems that I’m quite capable of limping through life with the assistance of things that don’t really work. Now, I’m on the lookout for things that fit me and giving things a chance that I’ve refused to even consider. The future seems much brighter now.”

Openness to doing things differently — thinking, talking, listening — does tend to brighten up the future. Try on a different size shoe today. Particularly if its well-worn by someone else. You might discover some new possibilities.

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4 thoughts on “If the shoe fits . . .

  1. Wonderful thoughts Joey. There are probably dozens of ways in which we “get by” with less than optimum. It is fortunate that life is so forgiving. And extra blessings fall on those who are able to improve just a little. Baseball is a game where failing 7 out of 10 times makes you a big success and improving just a little produces a star!

    But as to shoes. Have you ever actually worn another person’s shoes. It is awkward at best, and generally unpleasant. Our shoes conform to the walk we experience and are very unforgiving in re-shaping themselves easily to another. The commonly quoted Indian proverb of “walking a mile in his moccasins” may be more idyllic than insightful.

    In truth, we cannot walk another person’s walk, live their life, experience their joys and pains. Each personal narrative is so unique as to be inaccessible, at the deepest level, by another. Even though we share, talk, write, visualize and pour out the story of our lives, no one can really know what it is like in our shoes.

    Except Jesus.

    That’s one of the great miracles of faith, that there is ONE person who truly knows how my shoes fit, and is walking the journey with me. So when I am failing so much of the time, and feeling lost in my own shoes, I can depend on Him to help me find the right size, in anything I am willing to allow.

  2. Thanks, Mike. You’re right about Jesus being the only one who can truly comprehend our paths. Yet, I still hold to the wisdom of walking in the others shoes. Not possible physically, but so possible from a perspective of empathic understanding. The beauty of this vicarious walk is comprehension of the fact that our understanding of the other can never be fully complete — and so we begin our trek to understanding anew each day.

    Particularly meaningful is your statement about feeling lost in our own shoes. That’s another huge piece of recognizing and embracing God.

    Wow! Thanks for your thoughts!