Sunday morning I went for a walk along a trail where the area is wooded. I promised myself that I would take that walk since I hadn’t walked along that trail in many months. The last time I went there was so much to see. The squirrels racing across the fallen trees; the sun sneaking in between the leaves and branches; birds calling to each other, or pecking on the trees; the water rippling from the stream; and the silence every now and then. The walkers, runners and even many of the bikers, who use the trail early in the morning, say, “Good Morning” coupled with a look directly at you and a smile as they pass. The early morning walkers have made it a must. Later in the day not so much.
I made a promise that I would walk that trail in prayer to a certain point and that I would notice all the movement, and sounds as I walked. When I got about half way, my foot shifted in my left sandal. Even though I felt it, I didn’t pay attention to it. After a while, the shift was definite and I stopped to look at the bottom of my sandal.
These are the sandals from the top after the walk. The pavement was dry (even after the many days of long hard rains) so the pavement had dry dirt. The mud dried and then turned to dirt and then dried dirt.
The sandals I had on were walking shoes, from the Walking Store. I bought the sandals about ten years ago when I went to Italy. They are the most comfortable shoes. After the first year, and since I wore them everywhere, I decided that I would need a second and perhaps a third pair (Yes, they are that fantastic). But the company didn’t make them anymore. So, I tried to do what I called “save them,” by not wearing them so much, if that were possible. On Sunday, I took them out to wear on my walk for the first time in over a year.
When I stopped to look at my sandals, I noticed that on the left heel the leather strip around the heel was coming off. I also saw that there was a split across the sole from one end to the other. I put the shoe back on and took off the right sandal. The leather piece around the heel was loose, and seemed ready to come off, but was in better shape than the left sandal. There was also a crack or split across the sole from one side to the other. I thought about the fact that by wearing sandals, my feet were without socks. Walking on the cement walkway, coated with dust, dirt, gravel, etc. in bare feet would be very unpleasant.
I held my shoe for a few minutes and thought about the trips we had made together, the places those sandals went, the brick sidewalks, the gravel walkways, the paved streets in all those places and how those shoes seemed to make walking easy for me. It saddened me to know that I would have to throw those sandals away. They also went with almost everything I wore in the spring, summer, especially, and early fall. They never hurt my feet in any way, and they were so comfortable that most of the time I forgot I even had them on. Just having them was a comfort.
After I saw the condition of my shoes, my first thought was to turn back, and try to make it home. But, I had made a promise. I promised that I would in prayer walk to a certain point before I turned around. I had to continue my walk. Before I reached the turn around point, the heel of the left sandal came off. I had to walk on my toes from that point. I reached my turn around point and headed back. Walking on my toes on my left foot and using my entire right foot was a bit uncomfortable, but after a while I forgot about it. I made it all the way home without further incident. But take a look at my shoes on the bottom.
Often we “turn back” when we see trouble, when things get tough, when we think we can’t control things. For me, that is easy to do. What I learned walking on that trail was that I was not in control. My sandals were falling apart and I couldn’t stop that. But what I could do was keep the promise that I made. I made my Father in Heaven a promise that I would meet Him on that trail on Sunday. He was there. Through prayer, I see that things turn out okay when I stay focused on my goal.
People bring things of ill intent into our lives. That’s happening to me now. I can either attend to that ill will which takes me away from my goal, or I can ignore it and focus on my goal. On Sunday, I focused on my promise, not so much on my shoes, but on my promise. I made it home safely on the shoes you see above. The thing is, I wasn’t uncomfortable walking in those shoes and was surprised when I got home and saw them.
I also learned that there are times when we have to “clean house.” We have to get rid of the old and accept the new. I feel a change happening in my life right now, and getting rid of these old standbys, my reliable sandals, signals a change for me. So I will stay focused on my goal and accept whatever change the new will bring me.