Shoes and Pockets

It mostly takes sorrow to understand what it means for life to change in a minute or less; a blink of the eye.

I recently made my first volunteer trip without a notebook. Actually, I had a notebook, a specially made one, at that. I never had the chance or made the time to pick it up at night, in the morning, or during the day. I was that busy, that engaged, so much a part of the experience.

A few times, with a few spare seconds, I’d text myself notes without actually capturing the story. I only took one phone call on the job as well. It’s a number I always answer with one eye closed, as if grimacing and half-sight would lessen the possible bad news or make whatever I’m about to hear better. That day, I wasn’t fielding a crisis call, just an interestingly timed hello that coincided with a break between events.

My usual crutch, this time imprinted, spiral bound, soft-covered, had no place to ride. I made sure I packed pants with plenty of pockets, but it was just too wide; not easily rolled, cumbersome. So, my business card coordinated journal only left my shallow suitcase to be unpacked and repacked a few times as sleep accommodations changed. Accommodations changed four-times, but still, the pages remained blank, and my pockets remained full of emergency preparedness, and my shoes became varied.

Advised to bring along, the most comfortable, non-open-toed footwear owned, as a seasoned volunteer I brought along three. The most comfortable travel shoes, the broken-in but not broken-down lightweight running shoes, and the heavier, clunkier, dingy white walking shoes I’ve had for years. The travel shoes for the trip, the lightweights for indoor, the heavy-weights for potentially wet or muddy conditions; I thought I had it covered. After the first 4 hours of unexpected continuous circling on concrete, the day before the venue opened, my feet already disagreed.

Even the most comfy shoes can become the wrong ones in a given situation. When your absolute comfort zone becomes absolutely uncomfortable, it’s time to take the next step and step-out. Switching often was the recommended cure. I redefined “often” to suit my schedule: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, and then 5:30 pm – ?, and because an extra pair of shoes wouldn’t fit in any of my pockets, either.

That’s how I came to be leaning slightly against a tall cushioned stool on my third night as Press Room, Cooler and TV Monitor, and how I came to be fully sitting as often as possible on the fourth evening. It’s how I arrived at a greater understanding of shoe references in folk-lore and axioms, and challenge their worth.

In the midst of high profile questions and cameras, gratefulness, humble humility and recognition of greater things were common themes. Often repeated, regarding a tragic event or overcoming odds, one phrase floated. Seemingly hovered near the ceiling, drawn in with deep breaths, and released again and again, made known by succession – it really was remarkable.

The common implication that life can change in a minute or in the blink of an eye usually refers to the unexpected – something bad. Nursing painful feet, cramping calves, traumatized thighs, I’ve exhausted-but-clear-headedly come to the conclusion it can go the other way. From good to bad or from bad to good are the really the only two options of change available. These are the roads thoroughly traveled by artists, musicians, poets and dreamers; everyday people – the ones who make things happen and keep life running.

So, maybe it’s time to stop expecting the other shoe to drop, and graciously accept another pair.

Perhaps it’s time to preemptively trade the moulded cradle effect of the same shoes we’ve been wearing over and over to allow our standard stance some breathing room, stress-reduction and sore spot-regeneration.

I’m not recommending a challenging cliché. I’d really rather you didn’t attempt to walk a mile in my shoes.

I’d rather you dance a few feet, run a mile or appreciatively stand still in your own shoes.

I do suggest changing them often or finding a new pair; a shoe-in process proven to combat the painful bondage of repetition.

Then, be sure your pockets are deep enough to hold all the happiness that comes your way.

Ephesians 6:15: For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.


Quote for the Week:

To be happy, it first takes being comfortable being in your own shoes. The rest can work up from there. Sophia Bush


Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Stop Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop:

How to Find Shoes that Fit:

Sophia Bush:

if the shoe fits wear it 06 17 2014



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