Some neighbour friends of ours walked by and for some reason we got talking about shoes. He told us that he had just gotten rid of a new pair of shoes because they had lost their colour when he had attempted to wash them.
He told us he had to go out and buy a new pair of shoes as a result, but the extra expense was worth it, because you can tell a lot about a man from the shoes he wears. Mistin and I, two of our kids, and another lady who had joined in the conversation all immediately started looking at our shoes wondering what character assessment our footwear might engender.
This dude wasn’t kidding. He went on to explain that shoes are the first thing he notices on people. He judges from the sole up! Having new fancy shoes was some sort character measurement system in this mans mind!
Our dear 7 year old Jemma, oblivious to this system of human value based on shoes, chimed into the conversation:
“I got new shoes too!” She did a little jig, and then looked adoringly at her 8 year old brother Darve.
“Darve found them in the garbage room and brought them home for me, they are perfect!”
At first I tried to shush Jemma, I thought Oh no! Not that story, not now, not to this guy! but then I stopped. What could this man say? It was Jemma’s moment of pure delight and simple gratitude. She was entering into adult conversation with a happy tale to tell. My daughter cared nothing that these shoes were plucked from the garbage room in our apartment or what brand they were, or how much they might have cost. Darve had found them for her! It was love that had compelled him to bring them home and they fit her, and they were super comfortable, and there was plenty of tread left on the bottom, and to top it all off they were even the flashy light up kind!
The great speech on judging from the sole up, had fallen flat, It was felled by the simple joy of a seven year old who absolutely loved her “garbage” shoes! I hope the lesson will not be lost to us, especially us grown up types who so often lose our way. True character has nothing to do with shoes or any sort of status symbol. What matters more than footwear is the clothing of joy, gratitude and love that we wear and share with each other.