Not too long ago I visited a friend’s new home, and I got lost ... in her clothes closet.
A place equivalent to the size of an airplane hangar — and filled from top to bottom with enough shoes to make Imelda Marcos gasp, even at 92 years of age.
Of course, the array of pointy-toe, rounded-toe and open-toe designs weren’t all women’s shoes. Her husband had a black pair and a brown pair of “practical” shoes wedged neatly between the plethora of designer labels.
Suddenly, a glimpse of countless possibilities for my meager closet tugged at my psyche like a 40%-off sale— plus a coupon. I quickly took the first flight out of her closet, intent on catching the fabulous shoe sale at the mall.
Throngs of shoppers, myself included, were quickly descending upon a few wide-eyed salespeople who had every right to be frightened. We were about to hold them hostage for hours. Just ask any woman about choosing the right shoe. It isn’t easy.
There are mules, slides, platforms, boots, sandals, career shoes, evening shoes and athletic shoes — and that’s only the beginning. Add colors like taupe, gray, sand, burgundy or red (yes, there’s a difference) and now you have some major decisions — not to mention making up your mind about leather, faux leather, animal print fabric or bling.
But all of these shoes, no matter how different they look on the outside, always have one major thing in common. They hurt your feet.
Oh, not while you’re in the store and can easily change your mind. And most often, not even after a few days of wearing them.
Some can wait months to torment us, but eventually they “morph” into what Steve Martin called “The Cruel Shoes.”
They look good, but they determinedly wreak havoc on our toes, heels or arches. Still, since we have a trendy outfit that coordinates beautifully with them, we continue to wear the “cruel shoes” ... with a smile.
Sometimes life is a bit like that. It feels comfortable and easy to wear. And then one day, it starts to pinch and every step begins to ache. Suddenly we’ve been handed the “cruel shoes.”
For you, maybe it’s the loss of a family member and you’re feeling like your life has ended too. Or possibly, it’s a debilitating injury that changes all you expected for the future.
Perhaps, like what happened to me almost 19 years ago, you’ve gotten the news that you have breast cancer — and it hurts.
But, unlike store-bought shoes, we can’t step out of them. We have to walk the path ahead of us in these excruciating shoes, and that’s not easy.
But remember this one thing. When life seems like it’s more than you can bear, think of the one who walked each painful step to Calvary.
He realizes our heartache and fears. So reach for the outstretched hand, because Jesus is there to walk with you.
And, at the end of the day, take comfort in this: He understands how it feels to walk in your shoes.
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