“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” – Isaiah 52:7
I love shoes and I hate that I love shoes because shoes cost money. However, there is no better feeling I have found in my adult life that when someone compliments my shoes. It’s a little sick – When I get a new pair of shoes I sit there and stare at them all day, and I usually take a picture of them either on Snapchat or Instagram, just in case someone didn’t get to see them. I’m also the girl who will forgo saying hello or even acknowledging your entire presence to point and gasp and go, “SHOES!” if my friend or acquaintance has on a cool new pair.
When I was really sick and in the intensive care unit in the hospital, shoes took on a new meaning. In the ICU, there aren’t solid walls – there’s glass everywhere so nurses can easily keep their eyes on patients who may not be able to communicate because of how ill they are. The most you can do to get a semblance of privacy is to close a long curtain that hangs along the glass wall. Thus, when people are walking by, all you can see is their shoes.
The last time I was in the ICU before I got my transplant, I distinctly remember seeing and acknowledging three people’s shoes: my father’s work shoes, my best friend Andrew’s white tennis, and my pastor’s brother’s loafers. All three of those meant something great but also very different. My dad meant comfort and that my mom would get a chance to go get some air. Andrew’s shoes meant comfort, fun, and probably some kind of delicious food he’d smuggled in (a pack of Oreos, most likely). And Dr. Paul’s….that was special. Dr. Paul spends half of every year as a surgeon in Kenya. He’s a career missionary who had a successful practice in the United States but felt the calling – and answered it – to go provide healthcare to people in underdeveloped countries. He has performed surgery on probably thousands of people in Kenya, and helped establish a hospital there. He’s the biggest deal. And he made time to come see me. To this day, thinking about watching his shoes walk past the curtain makes me incredibly emotional.
Honestly, it makes my hurt do something weird when I think of all three of those men coming to see me. When I saw their feet, I always knew things were about to be good for about an hour. I wouldn’t be scared anymore for a while. I would feel special for a while, and not like one of many patients in big, cold, sterile hospital. It made me feel a feeling that you don’t usually associate with being in the ICU. Seeing their shoes made me feel good.
What if when people saw us coming they got excited? What if, in a time when so many people had a terrible last year, when there are so many fearful, depressed, and hurting people, they got excited to see us coming because for however long we were with them, they were smiling?
It’s really an amazing feeling to have my nephew light up and run to me when he sees me. It’s as if he was waiting for me and didn’t know it. Like, I’m just who he wanted to see every time he sees me.
That’s our job, y’all! We have the awesome privilege of knowing the Truth that has set us free. The Church should be the place where there are a ton of happy people, all loving life and wanting to share life with those who need it most. Instead of being the ones who are bringing judgment and opinions, we’re called to be the ones who bring the Gospel, which simply means “good news,” to people. Look around you: We’re needed more than ever. I was just telling my friend’s dad that everyone I knew who was complaining about 2016 being horrible was outside of the realm of my church family. It’s poppin’ in the Church! So our job now is keep the party going when we leave.
What if my three guys would come to the hospital happy and then immediately become as somber, sad, and scared as I was in my hospital bed? I sure would have been fine with them turning right around and not passing that curtain. I was doing bad all by myself!
It’s the same for our loved ones and the people we come across every day. Make sure you’re carrying the news that there is hope, joy is possible, and freedom is here to everyone in your path.
I had a friend tell me that she had no idea I had ever been sick in my life because my “soul is always glowing.” I’m so thrilled that she noticed my shoes!
This year, let’s remember to shine our shoes before we leave the house.