I often wonder about the shoes I see abandoned along the road. How did one shoe happen to end up on the road? Did it get tossed out of a car window on purpose? What could possibly be the purpose of that? What will the owner do with the remaining shoe? Or did the shoe end up on the road by accident? And just how does that happen? And why does this occur so often? Why shoes? Why not hats or umbrellas or toasters? I’m in the car a lot, and I see A LOT of shoes.
This past week there has been a single bowling shoe in the middle of the road near the college where my husband works. We commute to work together, so I’ve seen it every day. I don’t spend a lot of time pondering the question of shoes on the road, but I’m scheduled to post a blog today, and I figure there might be a life lesson in here somewhere.
LOST AND ALL ALONE
So, here goes. Maybe a single shoe abandoned along a roadway is representative of the times when we feel alone and abandoned in life. Shoes come in pairs since most of us sport two feet. Just as each shoe needs a partner to be most functional (what can you do with only one shoe?), we are wired to need other people. We are created in the image and likeness of God—and the Holy Trinity is the first community, Father, Son, and Spirit. We need each other in order to develop most fully into the people God created us to be.
Yet sometimes we’re out of sync with the people in our lives. The feeling of being alone following an argument or betrayal can be debilitating. We limp along as if we’re wearing only one shoe.
DISCONNECT WITH GOD
Sometimes we can feel alone in our relationship with God too. A tragedy may occur that just doesn’t jibe with our image of a loving God, and we struggle to make sense of it. We may feel as if God has abandoned us or that the faith to which we cling isn’t really that strong after all. And if we no longer feel that we can turn to or trust God, we may feel alone as never before. Sometimes we isolate ourselves from God and others through the bad choices we make, and then we don’t know how to initiate reconciliation. We can feel stuck on an island of our own making and need a rescue boat or plane to help us get connected again.
I’m no closer to understanding why there are so many shoes abandoned along the roadways I travel. But I’m going to use such sightings to remind me to pray for and act more sensitively toward people who may be feeling alone in life.
What about you? What lesson can you draw from an abandoned shoe?
photo credit: quayside/photoxpress.com