The Gray Shoes
Most people have given to charity. But, have you given to charity and wondered who was blessed by your gift? Whether it is money, clothing, shoes, eye glasses, or food, someone out there needs your leftovers and cherishes them. A humbling thought, huh?
While my husband was fighting cancer, on chemo, and out of work, we were living off a very modest income. My job, at the time, was a hospice medical social worker going into the homes of patients who were dying from various ailments. Many days I would cry as I drove between homes; I hurt for others, but also hurt for my husband’s situation. If you’re curiously wondering how in the world I did that job during that time in my life, well…I had to provide for my family. But, God gave me the strength to make it one more day, and one more day, and one more day. That’s a whole story in and of itself. I digress…
The company I worked for during that time required certain color medical scrubs to work in. There were several colors to choose from. I had a black pair and gray pair. The shoes I wore were an old pair of comfortable, blue running shoes. In fact, they were so liked that I had worn a hole right in the pinky toe part of the fabric. It didn’t so much matter to me because I had to walk in some undesirable places, but I kept thinking my patients and their families might feel sorry for me because of my worn-out shoes. I kept thinking about a new pair of shoes and what color I would get if I had the choice. To match both the black and gray scrubs, I thought gray would look nice. I thought often about the gray shoes, but would not let myself buy any because we didn’t have the extra to spare at that time in our lives. I kept thinking that when the cancer treatments were over and my husband is back to work, then I’ll pick up a pair of gray sneakers.
My eldest came home one evening from a date with her high school sweetheart. The young man was the son of some prominent people in town. His mother had cleaned out her closet and sent my daughter home with bags and bags of hand-me-downs. Every last piece of clothing had been very nicely kept. As we sorted through the clothes, we found some things that our family could wear, and the rest were donated to charity. Among the piles of clothes were several pair of shoes. Most were too large. But down at the bottom of the basket of shoes was a pair of gray Skechers. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They were in perfect condition. I slipped them on and to my amazement, they fit. I smiled and thanked God for the small gift. I hadn’t told anyone about my desire for a pair of gray shoes. Not a word. I hadn’t even asked God for them. It’s not like they were a necessity. My old ones were certainly usable. But that’s how my Father works. He wants to give me the desires of my heart. He wants me to have joy. He likes to give good gifts in the same way I enjoy giving gifts to my children. And He even cares about a silly pair of gray shoes that had been just a simple little thought.
I have given shoes to people in the past. But this experience made me realize how important my tiny donation was. It’s not just a pair of shoes. It’s how God uses His children to do His works of love. It’s Him knowing us so well that we don’t even have to speak it. And for me, the gray shoes were a token from my Father saying… I’m still here, taking care of your needs even when you don’t know how this thing is going to end. I’m still here working out all the details. I’m still here loving you.
Hoping you have your own pair of gray shoes,
“…You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16
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