These are my first pair of TOMS. They’re burlap on the outside and soft, flag-print fabric on the inside. I love them and I don’t think I could ever bring myself to throw them out. I’m not a sentimental person, I throw everything out, one year I got trash-happy and threw away all our W2s during tax season (I’ll never live that down). On our great MLK Day purge of 2012 I threw gave away my favorite pair of lacy ballet flats and I have no idea why. Yet these shoes may stay in a box, in my closet forever.
If you read the bible enough you’ll learn that feet are a big deal spiritually. People were constantly removing their shoes in holy places, or washing each others feet as acts of service. I’m sure it has everything to do with the fact that feet carry us on our life journey. They are quite literally what connects us to the earth God placed us on. I bought these TOMS in Waco, Texas with my sweet friend Ally while we were attending the David Crowder Fantastical Conference together. I was helping lead the trip and so, because I’m not entirely perfect, I encouraged a few of our students to skip an afternoon session to play hooky to get coffee and shop. I’m a fantastical leader but I was pregnant and falling asleep from too much sitting and a post-lunch brick wall. We all needed a break to wake ourselves up if we were going to absorb anything else of value later that evening. So on a whim, in a trendy college shop at Baylor, I adopted these now tattered and torn burlap shoes.
I put them on immediately and they carried me through the rest of the conference where my soul was fed with words and music I needed more than I could ever describe. I fell in love with Gungor, Common Grounds Coffee Shop and Baylor University on that trip, it was an immensely live giving weekend in Waco. I never knew how much I would need it, it was only a week later that my Mom took her life.
These shoes carried me from a Spiritual High, through the challenges of processing suicide, to the hospital to welcome a son and on walks around the lake to sift through all the new pieces of my life. They feel like old friends or faithful companions who walked with me through a searingly painful and transformative season.
But how does one honor shoes? I know its the Father-God behind that season who is worthy of all the praise, yet I see him, I feel the enormity of that time through these two, well-worn burlap shoes. I simply can’t throw them out, so perhaps they deserve a special resting place, a Shoe-box shrine where they can rest safely on the top shelf of my bedroom closet. They’ve been so good, so faithful to me, a gift from God and a reminder that he unceasingly carries us from spiritual highs, through lows and back again, and again and again. Well I’m off to decorate a shoe box before the kids wake up from naps.