A gray-haired black man with a pleasant face stands on the sidewalk. Heís known as SHOESHINE. Feeling a nip in the air, he buttons his raggedy jacket.
Next to him is a tall chair with a foot rest. Below the chair are various shoeshine supplies: brushes, cloths, shoe polish, etc.
He looks up and down the sidewalk, doesnít see anyone. He studies the sky, a peaceful grin on his face.
Finally a Young Couple walk by. He smiles at them, nodding.
They glance at him briefly, donít acknowledge him, continuing their conversation.
Shoeshineís warm smile remains as we he watches them go.
He begins HUMMING a happy tune as he straightens up his work area, coordinating his brushes and cloths.
He looks up as a Business Man hurries past.
Good day, sir. Could I interest
you in a shine?
The Business Man never looks up, keeps on walking.
Shoeshine is undeterred, grinning as he watches him go.
He notices a bird flying overhead. He admires it, fascinated, as he starts to HUM his song again.
He tidies up his work area some more.
After a moment, he notices something out of the corner of his eye -- a Man approaching slowly, awkwardly, in an almost wandering manner. This is EDWARD ROGERS, late 40ís, wearing a shirt and tie and looking a bit disheveled.
Shoeshine turns toward him, curious.
Edward stares at the sidewalk. He pauses, glances around, almost appearing lost.
Shoeshine takes a couple of steps toward him.
Good afternoon, sir!
Edward eyes him, somewhat alarmed, as if he hadnít been aware of his presence. Unresponsive, he turns his back to Shoeshine.
He looks around, then back down at the sidewalk. He swallows hard.
Shoeshine studies him, concerned.
Edward starts to walk away, but then suddenly pauses and walks in the other direction. As he steps past Shoeshine...
Sir, may I offer you a shine?
Edward pauses, notices the chair.
As he starts to walk off...
All shoeshines are free today...
Edward pauses again, slightly irritated.
No offense, mister, but my shoes
are the least of my problems.
Edward starts off again but then looks around as if not sure where to go or what to do. He rubs his face, exasperated, almost tearful.
Shoeshine wants to connect with him.
Címon, take a load off... just for
a minute. Itís been a slow day...
I could use some company.
Edward eyes him. He examines the chair, looks around a bit more. He sighs, frustrated.
Giving in, he reluctantly steps over to the chair. Shoeshine gleams as he takes a seat.
Edward studies Shoeshine suspiciously. Then he looks away and takes a deep breath, trying to gather himself.
Shoeshine notices Edwardís turmoil but quickly turns his attention to his shoes, which look a bit scruffy.
Yeah. You could definitely use a
shine. Itíll make you feel better.
Itíll put a spring in your step!
He picks up a brush and cloth. Before starting, he gazes at the sky, smiling, awestruck.
Itís a glorious day, isnít it?
Edward gives him a strange look.
How long will this take?
Oh, just a couple of minutes. I
wonít keep you long.
Shoeshine kneels down and gets to work. Edward watches him closely.
Shoeshine grins as he works. Heís very precise, very careful, very attentive.
A bird SINGS nearby. Shoeshine glances in its direction, chuckling.
My, isnít that a joyful sound? The
beauty of a birdís song never ceases
to amaze me.
Edward gives him another puzzled look.
Shoeshine WHISTLES a happy tune.
You sure are cheerful for someone
who shines shoes.
If my happiness depended on
circumstances, Iíd probably be a
grumpy old man. I live in a
shack and I eat sardines for supper
most nights. But one day I decided
to let the Holy Spirit inside me --
and my heart has been filled with
joy ever since. It instantly made
those sardines taste better, too!
Oh, so itís a religious thing.
Youíre one of those people...
Religion has nothing to do with it.
Religion causes pain, suffering, wars.
No, I donít have much use for it.
Edward studies him briefly, then looks away, distracted.
Shoeshine examines Edward as he works.
I donít know why youíre troubled --
itís none of my business. But...
have you sought out Godís help? I know
we like to think we can accomplish things
all by ourselves, but--
There you go with religion again. Are
you almost done?
God isnít religion. God is love.
Frustrated, Edward rubs his hand over his head.
This God of yours... Will he pay my
bills? Will he feed my kids?
Where is he?!
Shoeshine pauses, looks up at Edward. He gently
places a hand on his knee.
ďAsk and it shall be given you.
Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it
shall be opened unto you.Ē Matthew 7.
Shoeshine points at something in the distance.
See that tree over there? Heís there.
And that bird flying overhead? Heís
there, too. Look at that cloud in
the sky. Heís there. He is everywhere.
(pointing at Edwardís heart)
And heís in here. But you must believe.
You must have faith. Thatís all he asks
Edward turns away and shakes his head, irritated.
He looks down beside the chair, noticing the shoeshine supplies. He sees a Bible.
So youíre a preacher then?
No sir, Iím not a preacher. I have
no right to preachiní at anyone.
I donít know any more than anyone else.
But... I have been blessed. The Holy
Spirit lives inside me. Iím just...
here to share. Iím just... Godís
Edward gazes at him, puzzled.
Why are you telling me all this?
Well, I guess because youíre willing
And because youíre the only customer
Iíve had today. I had to take it out
Shoeshine polishes a shoe and examines his handiwork carefully.
Edward looks around, seeming a bit perplexed. Suddenly he buries his face in his hands, becoming quite emotional.
Iím sorry. Itís just... I donít know
what to do anymore.
He turns his head away from Shoeshine, trying to hold back the tears.
Shoeshine stands and puts his hand on Edwardís shoulder in a comforting manner. Edward seems ashamed.
This ďGod of loveĒ you talk about...
If he exists, then why does he put
us through so many hardships? Why
does life always have to be so
Shoeshine considers this for a moment.
I like to think of it as if heís
shaping us. Molding us. Preparing
us for something better. One thing
Iíve come to realize is that he has
the perfect plan for our lives. Our
own plans are of little consequence.
He gave us the gift of life. And weíre
here to glorify him. When you start to
understand that, things change. Then
when bad things happen in your life,
well... you can almost see the glory
Shoeshine smiles as he gets back to work. Edward looks at him curiously, contemplating. Then he looks up and down the street.
Iím not sure why I walked down this
street today. I never come this way.
Shoeshine smiles knowingly but doesnít look up.
Edward suddenly notices his shoes, which look almost brand new.
Thatís a pretty good shine.
Thank you kindly. I should be getting
good at it -- itís all Iíve done for
He grins as he puts his supplies away.
Edward studies him, as if attempting to figure him out.
By the way, Iím Edward... Edward
Pleased to meet you, Edward. People
just call me Shoeshine.
Edward nods. For the first time a slight hint of a grin spreads over his face.
He studies Shoeshine a bit more, curious.
So do you have family around here?
No. No, I donít. My wife and my
only son passed some time ago. I do
have two nieces and a nephew, but
they live far away.
Edward nods, not sure what to say.
Shoeshine continues to grin as he puts away his supplies and cleans up.
What about you, Edward. Do you have
family? Any kids?
Uh, yes... yes I do.
Standing, Edward takes out his wallet and removes a photo. He hands it to Shoeshine.
Thatís my wife, Marie, and my two
sons, Marc and Jacob, and my daughter,
Shoeshine studies the photo carefully, admiring it.
My, oh, my. That is one nice-looking
family you got there...
Yeah. They are my... everything.
You are a blessed man, Edward -- a
very blessed man.
Edward considers it, as if heíd never done so in a very long time. He takes back the photo and studies it, nodding.
Yeah. I... guess I am.
Be strong and of good courage --
and your strength will flow through
Edward nods, considering. He gazes at Shoeshine, slowly becoming in awe of him. He watches him put away his supplies.
Shoeshine, I donít know if I believe
in this God of yours, but I do know
thereís something in you that I wish I
had in my life. Sort of a, I dunno, a...
Shoeshine smiles knowingly. Edward nods.
Yeah. A spirit.
Itís there for all of us, Edward.
Itís free. A gift from God. All you
have to do is accept it. All you need
is faith. Simple child-like faith.
Edward considers this. He suddenly seems overwhelmed. His mouth drops open. He looks around, seeming a bit flustered.
He looks back at Shoeshine, attempting to gather his
senses. He nods. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath.
Shoeshine looks toward the ground.
Oh, I have something for you.
He reaches down, opens a container and pulls out a big, red tomato. He hands it to Edward.
Edward takes it, puzzled.
Itís from my garden. Well, actually
itís not a garden -- itís just a
bucket container beside my back door.
But it produces some beautiful
tomatoes. It just keeps producing and
Edward admires the tomato.
Well, I didnít mean to keep you
so long. Hope I didnít talk your
No, no... it was... fine. Iím glad
Shoeshine grins, nodding.
Edward, still seeming overcome, sticks out his hand.
Thank you, Shoeshine.
Edward, the pleasure was all mine.
They exchange a warm, meaningful handshake
Edward nods, turns, starts to walk off. He glances back at Shoeshine, who grins at him, nodding.
Try not to step in any puddles on the
way back. I donít want your wife
thinking I do shoddy work!
Edward nods, laughing. He waves at Shoeshine, who waves back.
Finally Edward turns and slowly walks off, still seeming in awe and amazed.
He looks all around. He notices a bird in a tree SINGING a joyful song.
He takes a breath a fresh air, seeming filled with a newfound spirit. He now walks with a sense of purpose.
Shoeshine watches him go, pleased. Finally he returns to his spot beside his chair.
Shoeshine gazes at the sky with a sense of awe. He nods, smiling, a twinkle in his eye.
The Shoeshine Minister
By Jason K. Allen