I’m a writer, so my mind works in mysterious and often strange ways. In the weird way that I commonly contemplate life, I was thinking the other day about shoes…and if shoes were friendships, what type of shoe would I be in a friendship?
After much imaginative deliberation, here’s what I’ve concluded.
It goes something like this…If I were a shoe, I think I’d liken myself to a pair of rain boots that sit on your back porch. Steady, dependable, waterproof, I get you through the floods of life. The deluges. The storms, mud and rain. In the spring, you take me out and I splash through the muddy puddles of life with you.
On warm, summery days, you clickety-clack out the door with your swishing skirt, bedazzled throat, with your party-shoe friends on, all of you so strappy, thin, and sparkling. Your party-shoe friends make you look tall and beautiful, perfect for your selfies and party photos…and I sigh, sometimes, as I watch and wait, steady and dependable in my ordinary spot in the back steps.
Some days, you bumpity-bump down the steps with your bulging luggage and your travel-shoe friends. You are all elated, rugged, and trendy, ready for all of the world’s adventures. They exude excitement, anticipating the journey and you’re so excited to be with them, for they will take to you to exotic places where your photos will look like paintings and you’ll bask in foreign suns.
I flop to my side while you’re away, in the strong, evening breeze, flexible and sturdy. The milky stars appear one by one, distant and clear, brilliant and soft in all of their eternal glory.
And I wait.
Here or there, you flippety-flop out of the house with your shopping shoe friends, all chattery, lip gloss sparkling, earrings catching the light, phones at the ready to capture all of the laughter and fun for your girls’ day out.
I know that later I’ll see the photos, hear the stories of you adventures. I’ll laugh, listen, and wistfully agree that you had great time….I watch the sky, and the seasons slide by, and I know that sunny days don’t last forever…and I stay because who will see you through when the floods come?
And I watch and wait.
And one morning, I see the storm clouds billowing in, hearing the distant thunderous announcements, and I know that, once again, I will be donned. You see, with my ridged soles and sturdy sides, I will wade you through the storms of your life, slow and steady, strong and resilient. When you’re slogging through the mud, you know I’ll be there…dependable and quiet, but always there. My thick soles will keep you from slipping on the rocks of troubles into the torrents of tearful despair. You lean into my tall sides against the onslaught and I can give you balance through the rushing rivers.
On other days, when you need to pull the stubborn weeds that threaten your growth and mar your garden, I’ll be in the mud right there with you, keeping you clean and dry. If you’re mucking out stalls, working on the farm….well….I’m there to keep you from getting too stinky.
You see, I don’t look good with party clothes, unless it’s to get you to the party through the rain….arriving, you quickly take me off to don your cheerful, brightly colored party-shoe friends…they’re so much fun at parties!…with their sparkly laughter and witty conversations. I’ll sit on the host’s porch and wait until you need to get home.
And you clomp home with me, depositing me unceremoniously by the back door while you go inside to nestle with your comfortable, evening, fireside slipper-friends. They are warm and cozy, agreeing with everything you have to say in their philosophical airs and theoretical opinions. You discuss great matters with them over coffee and I listen quietly from my home by your back door. I know I’m not educated enough to opine about world issues or understand the intricacies of the trendy, modern dialects.
I listen and thoughtfully wait.
Honestly, I have tried to be a different kind of shoe friend. Oh, how I’ve tried! I didn’t want to be a rain boot friend! They aren’t fun or special….too serious. They aren’t pretty or popular…..to ordinary. Nobody says, “Just wait until you see this AWESOME pair of rain boots that I saved up for and got!”
No, I’m mostly bought in a pinch. “Oh no! It’s raining, quick! Grab that pair of rain boots, I need them right now!”
In my younger years, when I was just a little Croc, I tried to be a party-shoe friend, but I lacked the sophistication and sparkle. Parties are exhausting! I’ve tried to be the travel-shoe friend, adventurous and daring….ready to take on the world….but when I was along for the ride, I longed for home, and when I returned, I was happy…content to not be continually amazed. Besides, I wasn’t built to be worn for long periods of time…I’m not comfortable enough and you need thick socks with me.
For a brief period, I attempted being a dance-shoe friend…what a miserable time that was! The lights were too bright, the crowds too rambunctious, my cheeks would ache from the forced smile that never made it past my face to my heart.
Then, could I be a flip-flop friend? Bright, breezy, easily replaced every season…but no…that didn’t work either. I’m too long term. I don’t dispose of people easily and I do not like being disposed of.
And so, after much experimentation, I have decided that I am happy to be a rain boot-friend. I’ll be here if you need me and it’s ok that I’m not in your party photos or shiny-shoe friend selfies. Even if you don’t need me for a long time, I’ll just be waiting on your back porch where you left me, watching the clouds for the storms…glad to get you through until the sun shines and the puddles have dried.
You see, you need all of these friends in your life and all of these friends serve a beautiful and cohesive purpose for you. Your party-shoe friends, your plucky travel-shoe friends, your dancing-shoe friends, fuzzy slipper-friends…and yes, even your rain boot friends.
Whatever type of shoe friend you are, just be the shoe that the Designer made you to be. I can never whittle down my sides and glue on some sparkles to become a party-shoe friend, nor am I good with travel…too bulky. I’ve learned the hard way that I’m happiest being what I am, what I was designed to be. I cannot force myself to be a different shoe when my design was pre-planned.
So, wherever you are in life, even if you’ve needed me before and haven’t needed me since, I’ll still be there for you….waiting by the backdoor of your existence, watching the clouds and anticipating how I can ease you through your next rainy day.
I’m a happy pair of rain boots.
And I really only look good with a tutu if I’m worn on a three year old.