I am not a foot person.
I don’t play “footsies”. I swallow hard when I do “This Little Piggy” with The Bug. I absolutely do not gather with the girls for mani/pedi bonding sessions.
And yet, God always has a way of bringing all the parts back into focus.
Take yesterday, for example, in the middle of Walmart.
There I was, tooling down the aisles, list in hand, smile on my face, the sheer joy of life radiating from every pore. This came for many reasons:
- I was alone, as all four of the kiddos were taken care of;
- it was the last day of the month and there was still money left in our Grocery Envelope to restock pantry items;
- I wasn’t hungry so I knew I wouldn’t feel guilt from impulse buys;
- I had a very short, very organized list;
- I got extra exercise, as the lot was nearly full of cars, so I parked a mile away, and,
- I got a good basket and not a wonky one.
Since I had been so blessed, I endeavored to spread a little cheer to my fellow crazy people in each aisle where I encountered them, which, at Walmart in the late afternoon, this meant everywhere.
I sailed from aisle to aisle, throwing out a compliment here, smiling extra wide there, offering to pick up what an elderly woman had dropped, giving pause to chat with a former student.
That’s how I roll. Blessed. Favored.
And it was good. And it was so needed. Really. I felt I had been beat up the previous week, as sometimes happens to those who walk with Christ in a fallen and broken world. The more fallen and broken the world, the more beat up a Christian often feels.
That was the picture of me. My heart and sensibilities looked like a crime scene photo of violence.
But not on this day in Walmart. I was rolling, blessed and favored.
And then, it happened, right next to the sweet cream salted butter, in the far left corner of the store. The flip-flops I had worn and loved and treasured each warm season, gave out. The little thingy that goes between the big toe and the second toe, just broke.
I was choked with emotion. A million thoughts flew through my head. I had worn these flip-flops for at least six or eight years. How could I possibly encourage others when my own shoe was broken? I still had to choose toothpaste and cough drops from the personal care section, all the way on the other side of the store. Did the deli section in Walmart mean there were rules about No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service like restaurants had? Was this the devil’s doing?
I knew for certain I just could not randomly and hurriedly purchase a new pair of shoes. That would be like immediately picking out a new puppy while the last breath was fading from the old dog. I don’t buy shoes lightly. I don’t spend money lightly either.
Look for a reason to praise! Look for a reason to praise!
And then it dawned on me: Sweaty feet.
The sweaty feet I had been cursed with all my life had just become a beacon of hope from a strange lighthouse. You see, the sweat allowed a suction to form between my foot and the worn-smooth rubber of my beloved flip-flops.
Since my birth, and probably before, God had been planning a solution to this, my current problem. And I didn’t even know it. Blessing and favoring. That’s how God rolls.
Sweet Jesus, I prayed, thank you for my sweaty feet.
Still, I couldn’t exactly pick up my left foot and walk. Sweaty foot suction only works so far against gravity, which became yet another miracle, another planned-long-ago type of grace. I found that I could only move if I sort of locked my left knee and used a sliding/scraping motion with my left foot.
If the devil himself was using that roaring lion thing with the breaking of the shoe, then my sweet Lord would use the grace of a lumbering, sliding, one-foot walk to help deal with my pride.
Off I went, seeking discernment for the shortest distance between two points, maintaining a smile because at least I still had feet and a thin piece of rubber, and moving like this: slape, step; slape, step; slape step. (Slape? You know, the marriage of a slide and a scrape … )
It slowed me down. It helped me with pride. I got a chance to smile at more people for a longer time because I wasn’t zooming past them. And, what do you know, I was still blessed and favored and it had nothing to do with my shoes or my sweaty feet, but everything to do with the wonderful and amazing and just-in-time and unconventional-method of God’s grace that allows me to continue walking on this earth.
Oh, may I walk (or slape and step) worthy, steadfastly and truly for Him.
Blessed and favored, my foot! Yes, indeed.