The 8 people who know me really well know that I have issues with my feet (now all of you know). I admit it, I am podiatristically challenged. Here is why: I grew up in the inner city of St. Louis and, due to all of the debris on the ground, never went barefoot. As a result, I am a tenderfoot. In other words, I wear shoes all the time in and out of the house. I can’t stand to go barefoot anywhere. Two of our friends and colleagues, Kathy Rogers and Megan Graffam, make fun of me for wearing house shoes in the house. My question for them is, why would God create house shoes if He did not want us to wear them in the house?
Contrary to me, Letha grew up a long way from the city and she never wore shoes until I met her and introduced her to the concept. It took her a long time to adapt, she kept saying, “my doggies can’t breathe!” Anyway, when I was a kid, our family was poor and I had to wear cheap shoes. This is not an exaggeration – we bought shoes 2 pair for $5 – and you wonder why I have issues with my feet (and a truckload of emotional baggage!).
I am careful what kind of shoes I purchase. Since I spend a lot of time on my feet, I need something that is going to hold up. My idea of a good pair of shoes includes the following: They should be solid, sturdy shoes. They should have good arch support. They should have a wide base, kind of clunky. They should be soft on the inside. Looking good is just a bonus.
My special foot needs carried over into my parenting. When our girls were little, I insisted that we spare no expense when it came to their shoes. We took them to specialty shoes stores for kids and made sure that they had high quality footwear. No kid of mine would ever wear K-Mart shoes. I loved the high-top, ankle supporting tennis shoes, preferably Keds. No cheap shoes and for goodness sake, no jellies! I believe these plastic wanna-be shoes to be the culprit behind most of the foot problems in America today.
So last week, I found a pair of shoes my size for $16.00 dollars on clearance at Kohls. They were $85 dollar shoes (or so the price tag said). Like a dummy, I bought them, not because they were comfortable but because they were cheap. You would think I would know better. Not so. I broke my own rule. Big mistake!
I wore the shoes to a wedding on Saturday and to a meeting today. They are tight. The elastic on the tongue squeezes my feet. They hurt. I hate the shoes. But I have to wear them because it would be wasteful not to do so. So I limp around. I am hoping that they will stretch.
A couple of years ago, our staff went to a conference in Indiana. The suitcases that Letha and I checked did not arrive on our flight. Wearing the same underwear for three days in not a problem, but going without house shoes? This could be considered cruel and unusual punishment! I had no choice; I had to go around the hotel the first night without protection on my feet. I made it through most of the night with no problems, being very careful not to step on a foreign object. Then, around midnight, I heard a noise outside our door and thought that our suitcases had arrived. I got up to go check and, in my haste, I kicked the chair that was next to our bed. I broke the middle toe on my right foot. I know, kind of emotional, huh? It immediately swelled up and turned purple. Oh, the trauma! I considered calling 911, but decided to tough it out – with no pain medication. I suffered through the night. The next day, Kathy and Megan had great fun laughing at me. I am still working on forgiving them.
There is a spiritual lesson in all of this:
Just because something looks good does not necessarily mean that it is.
Tender feet mean a tender heart.
Don’t make fun of your friends who have infirmities.
Bad shoes are the work of the devil.
Take your pick.
If you wear a 10.5, maybe I’ll donate a pair of gently used, cheap shoes to you. Or how does $16 sound? I’ll pay you to take them.