I love my shoes.
My eyes initially spotted them in an advertisement in my social media feed. Truthfully, it wasn’t completely a coinicidence that they showed up in the midst of my scrolling. My buying habits are not secretive to the bots monitoring my digital life. I can’t hide from the reminders of my sketchers sandals shoe fascination. Both the ads and my daughter’s laughing comments make me confront my guilty pleasure.
This pair intrigued me. Both function and style appealed to me. Specifically, the ancient sparkly design made me think of a different time and civilation. That may sound silly. However, I am always on a quest to recognize my identity within the contexts of those who came before me and those who live different narratives from myself. In a sense, the sandals are a visible reminder to keep walking into those paths.
Most recently, they waded into the Caribbean Ocean, paddled my body through Cenotes in Mexico, and walked the sacred ground of encounters with people who don’t live in my native country. My sandals witnessed to my wonder at new smells, the beauty of creation and attempts to engage with human companions in ways that don’t require words.
Before walking into very different places across the globe, I encountered new narratives in familiar territory. Some of them included my own. My sandals comforted my feet as I walked into doctor’s offices, my insides quivering at updates from a yearlong of health battles. They accompanied me to conversations, some silly and others more serious with my young adult children.
And somewhere, in the midst of moving around doing seemingly mundane activities, I connected with people I never met. We exchanged laughs, shared insights, and simply acknowledged presence with an “excuse me” as we passes in aisles.
Someday, my sparkly shoes will wear out. I will be sad because of the sacred places I have tread with them adorning my feet. The stories they hold are way more fascinating than their decoration. So when they wear out, I can cling to the pictures and be reminded of the places I have seen the face of God as I navigate my days. And I am confident that the next pair, no matter what they look like, will hold more stories.