Last week when I came home late from a meeting, I stopped in my tracks as soon as I walked in. You know how it feels when day-after-day you’re doing the same thing, not noticing, and then one day – Kaboom – you see it differently? Well, this was one of those days.
I always take my shoes off at the front door. When I was growing up, my mother would complain about tripping over my shoes, It didn’t stop me, I just tucked them around the corner, clear of her feet and admonishment. The routine is still with me; and now, the shoes I wear most frequently tend to hang out in a row – by the front door, ready for their next adventure.
This particular evening, my eyes were drawn to the shoes – 2 pairs. The running shoes I wear almost every day – when I walk; and the western boots I wear at least once a week – when I volunteer at C2 It with horses and special needs kiddos. The running shoes were bright white and purple, brand new, while the boots were dusty, worn, broken-in perfectly.
As I took off my heels, I smiled. A year ago, the shoes at my front door were different – they were mostly work, dress shoes. My, how life has changed in such a short period of time – my “go to” shoes are no longer for an office, but for being outside. I drew a breath and felt my smile from the inside-out. It wasn’t a shift I had consciously made, it happened effortlessly – life evolving into a new flow – shoes telling the story.
Then I realized the line of footwear was reminding me of a broader cadence of life. The running shoes were new. They have a cycle of use: over time, they give me all the support they are designed for, until the day when they no longer can. Then, it’s time to head to the running shoe store and replace them, with the “newer” version.
The boots on the other hand, get better with age. The more I wear them, the more comfy they become – stretching perfectly at the right places for each of my feet, feeling great whether I’m wearing them for an hour or ten. It’s not just me. I’m smiling, thinking about my daughter’s favorite pair of boots – she’s been wearing them since 2006 and worked as a wrangler in them for three years. Still comfy. Still wearable.
Our life – jobs, homes, people, routines – are like our shoes. Are they running shoes? Part of our daily routine, until they have given us all they can? Are they boots – getting better each day, looking great with dust?
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell at first when we say “yes” and go. All I have to do is remember how many times I thought a relationship was going to be like my boots – easy, comfy, better over time; only to discover that it was more like my running shoes, wonderful and with a shorter life span. And, then I remember the relationships that deepened over time, like the boots, naturally evolving, comfortably.
Yes, there’s the saying that sometimes friends and loved ones are in our life for an hour, day, year of a lifetime. It’s a good saying. Somehow, the shoes and boots at my front door brought the saying home – in a personal way, one that I could understand and feel.
Now, every time I come home, I see the line of shoes and am grateful for every moment and every person that have been part of my life. And, I smile, remembering, that these shoes and boots are made for walking into the new moments to come – each with their gifts.
Thank you for reading.
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” (Abraham Lincoln)