They say good things come to those who wait. We like to paraphrase that with “cute shoes come to those who wait,” red shoes in particular. Or “close friends come to those who wait” like what happens with a certain woman we know and understand sole-deep. She doesn’t meet a person and instantly make friends. Still she’s always had friends along the way. On the other hand, or foot as we like to say, waiting for red shoes to horn their way into her closet took half a century.
The desire for red shoes came with her first trip to, of all unlikely places, a public library. She was five years old spending her first weekend away from home with her grandma. They rode to the library on the city bus, another first. That weekend of big city firsts was especially exciting for her, a child of rural circumstances.
Grandma ushered her through wide doors set in a structure of stone and glass into a world of wonder. Although she wasn’t in school yet, her big brother had taught her to read. Her love affair with books began, and now surrounded by her heart’s desire, she was in a dream come true! Who knew that dream would introduce her to another love, shoes!
Grandma said, “This is the children’s section. You may choose one book to take home with you. I am going upstairs for the books I need. If you have questions the librarian is right there. Don’t leave this room. I’ll come back for you soon.”
So many choices! After looking at and discarding several, she settled on a book about a little girl who wore red patent leather shoes. The title and content are lost in her back-filed memories. But she remembers thinking, someday I’m going to have a pair of red shoes and I will write a story about them! Those red shoes beat her scuffed little white oxfords totally out of the running!
Fast forward forty odd years. With professional help our sole-sister was finding her way out of a serious depression; hadn’t been in church for a number of years. As healing took place, she and her husband started going to church again but she found it difficult to connect with others. Why wasn’t anyone offering friendship to her?
While visiting her sister out of state, she met her sister’s friend. They told how they first met. Her sister’s eye caught on the red tennis shoe clad feet of a lady across the room at a scout meeting and thought, anyone who wears red shoes has got to be fun, and someone I want to be friends with!
Our sole-sister said, “I sure wish I’d meet a friend who wears red shoes!”
The friend replied, “Maybe you could be that friend to someone else.” It was a gentle and wise reminder that to have a friend one must be a friend. Over the next few years, as she learned to apply God’s peace in her own life, our sole-sister extended it in friendship to a number of dear people.
But, and this will make all shoe fanatics gasp in horror, there were still no cute red shoes in her closet! Plenty of other shoes—they’ve shared her story with us—but not those of her childhood dreams.
This is where we stepped in to her story. An email came from a young friend she worked with informing her she was buying a pair of shoes on-line that came with an offer of a free pair. Having heard our sole-sister mention an interest in the Red Hat Ladies Society, a club for women over fifty, she wrote, “If you desire, I’d like to give you the free pair.”
Did you guess? Yes! We are the free pair! Red tennis shoes, resplendent with a sequin-appliquéd red and purple hat on our toes! Of course, she accepted, and our soles belong to her.
We remind her of the fashion show mentioned in the sixth chapter of Ephesians. Verse fifteen especially stands out to our self-proclaimed shoe aficionado, “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” We helped make her the friend in red shoes but God is keeping her ready to offer the good news of peace with Him through Jesus Christ. That’s a friendship He’s patiently waiting to give everyone who accepts, with or without red shoes.
(Scripture: New Living Translation)
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