Thursday, July 22, 2010
She did not think of anything at the time except, don’t be late. She paid no mind to the outfit she selected or how her makeup lacked styling. “Just cover the remnants of sleep,” she thought. As her final act she grabbed a pair of shoes from the floor, slipped them on and out the door she went.
The day progressed in its routine fashion but there seemed to be a subtle change to the way the world was viewing her. Never mind she thought, I have so much to do; I’ll worry about that later. All afternoon subtle hints, little clues, what had changed with the rising of the sun?
Why had the coffee lady been so rude, she never had been before? Why had the world suddenly decided she was something to sneer at and then shuffle past? All day she had felt as if she were that ugly piece of art everyone sees but no one really looks at.
Today of all days why had the world decided not to hear her? She had so needed to communicate today and yet every time her mouth was opened an eerie silence filled her space. What had happened overnight?
Finally arriving home and leaving the solitude of her car she entered, the small but quaint dwelling she called home. Placing her bag on the entry table and retrieving a glass of wine, she went straight to the sofa.
Sitting, sipping wine and reflecting on the day, a dull ache began to throb. “Oh, my feet are killing me,” she thought and she reached to remove her shoes. At this very moment all of the day’s strange nuisances made perfect sense.
The night before a friend had visited during a storm borrowed a pair of shoes and forgot to take the wet ones home. She had spent the entire day walking in another’s shoes.
What had been perceived as strange nuisances were in fact the daily events of another. It brought a tear to her face; she had no idea. She never thought a single pair of shoes could shed so much light. Right then and there she made the decision to never look at shoes again but rather the eyes of the person wearing them.
The thought occurred to me that in our daily, fast paced, routine, lives we pass by so many people out of habit. Caught up in our own tangled web we are sometimes rude. Out of unjust fears we neither see nor hear those around us. We wander through the day looking at shoes.
Today I challenge you to look up from the shoes, smile and say hello to a stranger. Who knows what goes on in their shoes? That smile may be all they need.