It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I was a fairly precocious child. I had my own unique way of viewing the world and was stubborn in my refusal, at times, to listen to those who knew ‘best.’
Now that I have children of my own I can see history repeating itself with frightening rapidity…
When I was a youth growing up in Liverpool, I frequented what was termed ‘Rummage Sales’. Being the Vicar’s daughter had many perks, including being allowed into the Church hall before other people to view the tables of jumble. Hallowed turf indeed my friends….and I LOVED it. Hideous jewelery, clothes and accessories were all mine for 5 of your good English pence. As far as I was concerned, I looked a million dollars, but photographic evidence of the time begs to differ. One of the least successful combinations I put together was recently roared at by my brothers at a family reunion. Yellow flares, a brown flowery top and a bright purple neck scarf – at a suitably jaunty angle – was the subject of much derision. And rightly so. I looked like I’d been dressed by a committee of unkind blind people.
But it was a pair of gold shoes that I remember with real clarity. I bought them for 10p (so they were quite an expense) They were pumps, neat and dainty. And at least a size too small. They crippled me to wear, but they went so beautifully with my green pedal pushers with the gold laces…. (Pause to vomit if you need to)
My Mum begged me not to wear them having taken great care, all our lives to fit us with the ugliest and most grotesquely sensible shoes Clarks had the audacity to keep churning out in the seventies. But I figured, ‘What harm can they do? They are so pretty and so NEARLY my size! What can go wrong?’
Well, it turns out, plenty. As a result of wearing those shoes for a few months during a period when my feet were still growing, I managed to damage my big toes on both feet for life. A few weeks of walking wrongly and not giving myself enough room has had a permanent effect. Both my feet now look a little strange, my big toes growing slightly inwards instead of straight up. There is more than one reason that one of the 10 commandments is about honouring your parents…!
I remembered those gold shoes this week as I took my children- with a wry smile – to good old Clarks (Who have since employed a shoe designer who knows that making a child’s foot resemble a black brick ain’t pretty) to spend nine trillion pounds on school shoes and trainers. I wished my mother had stolen those gold shoes in the night and hidden them in the soda stream. It might have made the cola taste better anyway??
Ladies and gents out there… do you know what? God cares deeply about the way we walk. I’m not just talking about our physical gait of course, but the way we choose to live. He cares about the patterns we set up, the habits we have, the attitudes of our hearts and our purses. He knows if we have given to the latest crisis on the other side of the world, or whether we have saved up for a new handbag instead. He knows if we have walked past the person selling The BIg Issue because we feel we have bigger issues of our own. He notices when we care for those in need, those who need a gentle word of joy or encouragement. He cares very much how we walk.
Allow yourself to ‘wear the right shoes today’. Don’t try and ‘Cinderella’s sister your way into someone else’s stilletto’… It may not just cripple you, but others too.