It’s a beautiful day, and we are in comfort mode. I’m all slumped down in the comfy chair, relaxed and calm, delving into a really good book. When out of the blue, my toes take on a mind of their own and begin to curl inward, sending me running around the house like a crazy woman. Have you ever seen someone talk to their toes? Begging and pleading?
Dr. Pepper goes down, popcorn suspends in mid-air, TV pauses, and everyone looks at me like I’m a crazy woman. Eyebrows raise. “What are you doing, Mom?”
I want to say, “Don’t you know by now?”
I laugh and want to cry all at the same time.
It’s hard for anyone else to understand. Unless you’ve experienced it.
“My toes are cramping again.” I can’t stop walking, running, dancing around until they relax. It’s the silly sandals I’ve been wearing. That’s my assumption. They’re just as darling as can be, but they are too wide for my feet. And I have to scrunch my toes with each step to keep them on, or else I’ll walk right out of them in public. And I’ve been known to do that. I smile, when others see my mishap, misstep.
I shouldn’t wear them, and I have been wearing tennis shoes more often, but the sandals … well, they are really cute.
Everyone thinks so.
We get in the car, my girl and me, heading to the store. We’re on this old windy county road with bumps and bruises. A trailer hauling horses or cows leads the way, oh some quarter mile ahead. My daughter says, “What on earth are they doing? They are driving drunk.” Swerving in and out. Looked a bit dangerous for that trailer.
I say, “Well,”—and I milk this out a bit, southern style—“they might just be avoiding …”—we swerve to the left—“that big hole”—we swerve to the right—“and this big hole.” Yeah. Our road is full of holes. If you don’t avoid them as best you can, your tire alignment will never be the same and neither will your insides.
We laugh. My girl says, “I spoke too soon. I shouldn’t have judged them. I had no idea.”
I say, “Yeah, it’s hard to understand until you walk in someone else’s shoes.”
We sit there silent for a few moments, soaking in that truth.
And I remember just a few weeks ago when I stood before this beautiful group of women. I was there to share my heart. And I know some of their stories, and some of their stories, I don’t know. But there are stories. That I know. We all have them.
Because we live in a world full of bumps, bruises, holes …. One minute we’re slumped cozy on the couch, and the next, we are in crisis mode. Swerving to the left. Swerving to the right.
Deer on the left. Deer on the right.
And I ask the Lord, “How? How do I stand before these beautiful women and even attempt to open my mouth? You know me.”
You see, I’ve not walked in their shoes. Who am I? What can I do? What can I say? I don’t even want to walk in my own shoes. Because sometimes these shoes are painful. They hurt, they cramp, and sometimes I want to walk right out of them.
How on earth can I walk in someone else’s shoes until I fling my own painful shoes off my feet?
I hear my Lord softly say …
O Soul Within, you just share your heart. It’s a beautiful thing called a testimony. It’s yours, unique, and distinct, like you. You allow those knees to softly cap the ground, glide your hands forward, letting that dirty-blond-hair-turning-gray, that I made, touch the ground, right alongside your face.
When your heart is cramping right alongside everyone else’s … when you can’t stand on your own two feet … you slide prostrate until your heart hits the ground, level with your face, and you lift your eyes, with those tears that continually pool, to see my feet … the feet of Jesus.
The feet that were punctured, scarred, cramped, and bruised.
And then something beautiful happens, O Soul Within, you pour out your heart, only to find that others are filling yours.
At the foot of the cross.
Have you ever had a hard time walking in someone else’s shoes? Did God show you how to walk forward?
And I want to thank the sweet Cornerstone ladies for loving on me, setting up all my equipment and all theirs, lugging in my boxes and bags before I could even blink, and for sharing their champion stories with me on this bumpy road called life. I’ll love you forever.
6 thoughts on “When You Don’t Know How to Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes”
Made me teary-eyed, Shelli. How often we judge . . . unaware of the potholes others are swerving to avoid.
Thank you for the wake-up call!
Interestingly, I'm writing a blog post on feet this week. Must be a God thing.
Oh, Becky! The funniest thing happened. After writing this–and I don't normally share my dreams–I dreamed I was in a shoe store, all night long. We even had lunch there. Ha ha! It took me a minute to figure out why I dreamed about a shoe store … my blog post. Go figure! 🙂
You always bless me.
Shelli, simply beautiful. And your sandals ARE cute. 🙂 Even more, though, your words are powerful. We need to be able to step out of our shoes before we can walk in another's. We must set aside our pre-conceived notions about a person or their situation before we can truly be Jesus with skin on for those around us.
You've got such a way of sharing God's truths, my friend!
I've learned through years in the classroom, that if I reveal personal details and frustrations, it endears to me to my audience. You seem real to them. And they see and hear that you do empathize with them. Your post reminded me of this. Thanks!
Thank you, Jeanne. You always bless me.
Thank you, Melodie. To be genuine, authentic … that's my heart's desire.