On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Dr. Graves gave me this hot, heavy boot.

Dr. Graves gave me this hot, heavy boot.

I know I’ve focused a lot on my feet the last few months, but that’s what happens when you break an ankle. But last Friday, after 3½ months, the doctor pronounced me healed and let me exchange that ugly boot for regular shoes with the caveat that all those shoes must have flat heels. Since I’m somewhat height challenged and David is almost a foot taller than I am, all my shoes except for tennies and sandals have heels, so I went shopping.

I wanted something that would look good with either jeans or dress pants (I can’t tell you the last time I wore a skirt). What I really wanted was a pair of loafers. It was not to be.

Keep in mind that I live in the middle of “no malls land,” and even when we go into “town,” the shopping is limited. After looking at a couple of places, the choice was between low-vamped ballet type slippers or heavy clogs, so I settled for a pair of slippers. They’re pretty enough, and they look good with slacks, but I’m not crazy about how they look with jeans. Then Monday I saw them – the perfect pair of red penny loafers – at the Senior Center – on someone else’s feet.

“I really like your shoes,” I said. “Where did you get them?”

We talked a little bit about my semi-successful shopping trip and about where she got her shoes. She asked what size I wore and said she would keep an eye out for me. Casting one more wistful glance at her ruby slippers, I went over to check out the progress on the latest jigsaw puzzle.

Wednesday, the lady of the shoes sought me out.

“I have a question for you,” she said. “Would you wear someone else’s shoes? I know some people don’t like to do that.”

I was puzzled by her question, but I answered. “Sure, I guess I’d wear them if they fit.”

“Wait just a minute. I have to run out to my car.”

My (almost) new shoes - and yes, those are poodles on my socks.

My (almost) new shoes – and yes, those are poodles on my socks.

She returned with a plastic shopping bag and handed it to me. Inside was a pair of navy blue tasseled loafers that looked almost new.

“See if these will fit you. I know how frustrating it is when you can’t find what you want.”

In the 12th chapter of Mark one of the scribes asked Jesus which commandment was the most important. This was His answer:

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

In the last two millennia there has been lots of discussion about who our neighbor is and how we can best show our love to him or her. Modern society has developed all sorts of institutions and programs to provide for our neighbors when our love falls short, but institutions and programs are cold and sterile and lack the heart that’s necessary to show real love. Institutions and programs offer what meets the needs of the majority, but real love is expressed when two neighbors meet face to face and one recognizes a need she can fulfill.

My friend is not really an angel. She’s a sweet lady who loves her neighbors and shows that love one pair of shoes at a time. By the way, the loafers fit, and they look great with jeans.



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