I had a favorite pair of brown pumps. They were that lovely versatile kind of shoe that every female chaplain loves: they have good arch support for all those hours on your feet, they don’t need a lot of polishing, and they had a high enough heel to look dressy, but low enough that I didn’t kill myself walking in them. I could run and catch an elevator in them, or stand behind the pulpit in confidence.
And today, they died.
I took them to the repair shop not long ago and had them re-do the heels. The shoemaker looked them over and shook his head, “I will try,” he said, “but they have no core left. The heel will come off.” To me, it was worth trying to salvage them, so I paid the fee (a whole $5!) to get them fixed.
Today, the heel came off of one shoe, leaving the core and the lovely new heel pad on the cement. I was catching a train to downtown, so I sucked it up. I limped my way around the Metro, met up with a fellow chaplain, and limped home. The shoes were tossed in the trash on my way in the door. I knew better than to go back to the shoe shop. He was right… They had no core. They had no way to support the wear and tear of walking (or running) and the stress made them come apart under my feet.
The shoes looked lovely on the shelf. They had worn well for the time I had them, with very little in the way of scuff marks or wearing. But there was nothing internal to help them deal with the pressures of the external.
It seemed to me, as I sadly pitched my shoes, that it was a great metaphor for life, for coping, for dealing with all those unexpected crises that could trip you up. Without a “core” to bear the pressure and the stress, we fall apart. Is it any wonder that I limp so much?
I’m going to keep remembering to put my hopes on the One who hears, holds, and empowers me.
Thanks be to God.