He came barefoot to church every Sunday morning. Unaffected by the questioning glances, he stood quietly in his ragged clothing. Emma was drawn to him, and she determined to find out why.
When service ended, Emma hurried out the doors and waited until she spotted his bare feet amidst the flood of Sunday shoes. Head down and hands in pockets, he walked toward the alley. She followed.
“Excuse me. I have something to give you.” She held out a small envelope.
He looked up, brows furrowed above his warm brown eyes.
“This is for you…so you can have some shoes to wear to church on Sundays.”
His lips curved into a smile. “You’re very kind. But, I don’t go to church on Sundays.”
Emma tilted her head and looked from him to the building and back.
“I don’t believe we’ve met. Name’s Joshua.” He held out his rugged hand.
“I’m Emma. But…I’ve seen you in church. Every Sunday.”
“Oh, the building? Yes. But if you want to see my church, follow me.”
He proceeded down the alley, and Emma followed until they came to a series of row houses surrounding a small, dusty playing field where children ran barefoot.
Joshua turned to her. “Meet me here tomorrow.”
And she did. Each day that week, Emma came to the field and watched as Joshua delivered shoes to different families. He’d spend the day making shoes and the evening passing them out. By the end of the week, many of the children were wearing brand new shoes.
Emma watched as they played. “I don’t understand. Why…”
He smiled gently as the children ran happily across the field. “I like to give all I have, and to remember all I have to be grateful for.”
The next Sunday, Emma saw one of the families from the row houses walking in to church. The mother was wearing the Sunday shoes Emma had given her; the father and their boy were wearing the shoes Joshua had given them. Emma smiled, savoring the feeling of the cold floor beneath her bare feet.
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