Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Easter Shoes

When I woke up that Saturday morning before Easter, I knew that I had to get a new outfit for the next day. For the past several years, in an effort to save some money, I hadn't followed my childhood tradition of getting a new Easter outfit, but on this day I just needed to. I dreaded the crowds. Only Christmas crowds are worse. But I gathered myself and made for the mall.

I wandered the stores that usually yielded good finds, but to no avail. All things were ugly or too small or too old fashioned or not the right color. I couldn't find a dress, nor new slacks, nor a blouse, nor shoes. I couldn't find one thing that would make me feel ready to celebrate my Savior's resurrection. And I so wanted to go to Easter service ready in body as well as in spirit.

Nearly 8 years ago, I had been stricken with an undiagnosable joint problem. The pain in my joints prevented me from wearing heeled dress shoes, and so my wardrobe gradually moved away from dresses or skirts, away from dressing up in general. It had been years since I donned a dress, but I wanted this Easter to be special. And it could be, for three years before, God had healed me from my pain. I had just never gravitated back to anything close to dressing up.

Discouraged by the showing at the mall, I left and made for a discount shoe store down the street. At least I could find a good pair of shoes. But no luck. I shuffled up and down the aisles, looking at all sorts of comfortable shoes but not finding anything appropriate. Feeling very down, I turned to leave. As I approached the door, a woman was there trying on a pair of red, patent leather, sling-back, baby-doll-toed heels. And they were gorgeous.

A tiny idea was birthed in the back of my mind: Why not try them on? But I don't wear heels. Why not try them on? But I've never worn sling-backs (I have issues with shoes that reveal my self-described ugly feet). Just try them on. But red? It's so impractical. I'd have to buy a whole new wardrobe. Okay, try on the black ones.

They had had almost no shoes in my size in any of the styles I had looked at that day. But, bold as you please, there was a 10 in the middle of the stack of black shoes. I looked around self-consciously--as if I would be 'caught' by someone there! I grabbed some footies, slipped them on, and slid my feet into the shiny slippers.
And they fit. Perfectly. I did nearly tumble when I tried to stand in them, but that voice said, Look at how cute they are! I tried to walk. That was embarrassing. Anyone who has ever worn heels knows that it is a learned art, and apparently one that can be forgotten. But they did look good. I looked good in them. I felt absolutely frivolous as I reached for my wallet.

At home, I tried them on with a pair of dressy pants and a blouse I really liked. I like the shoes, I liked the shirt, but the pants made everything seem wrong. Reaching to the back of my closet, I unearthed the last of a forgotten breed--a straight black skirt. It had been years, I recollected as I held the skirt in my hands, since I had worn one of these. Was I up to it?

And then that voice in the back of my head piped up again: Why not? All the reasons I had told myself over the years tumbled back into the forefront of my mind: I have ugly legs, I look better in slacks, I'm too tall to wear heels, etc. But suddenly I realized that the true hindrance was gone. I could wear heels again because when God took away my pain, He had also given me a gift--a little one, one overlooked for years. I could walk in heels without suffering inordinate pain. I could dress up again, for the pain that kept me from doing so was gone.

On Sunday morning, I left early so that I would have time to learn heel-walking again on my way into church. And by the time I arrived at the doors of the building, I was walking tall. I was also ready to worship, for I was celebrating not just my Savior's life, but the one He had given to me, and the one He had given back again.

(c) 2007
A True Story

1 comment:

Beth said...

UH! I want a pic of you IN the heals!