By 2011 Mercy Graduate Heather
If you knew me in any capacity, you'd know that I like to crank out a good eight-mile run every day. Trust me, that adds up! Throw in a few marathons, half-marathons, and 5K races, and it’s not long before I need new shoes. Somehow, I’ve let that need slip right by me though… after three marathons and more morning runs than I can count, I'm still attached to this good OLD pair!
With toes poking out the sides, blood stains on the mesh lining, and a tread that’s as smooth as a baby’s bottom (ok, not really), I think it's about time to retire these Asics.
So... today I made an unplanned stop at a running store where I trust a bunch of older, elite retirees who know a thing or two when it comes to running. Terry was working, and he asked me, “Well, did you bring your shoes?”
Did I bring my shoes? No. Dang, I should’ve known better.
“I can’t let you try on a pair until I see how your tread is and what your gait looks like. I can’t let you buy the wrong pair!”
I like Terry. I like that he knows what he’s talking about and that he takes just as much responsibility in my feet as I’m trying to do. I like that he’s not trying to carelessly force the wrong pair of shoes on me just to hike up his commission. I like that he sent me away because I was not ready to buy new shoes yet. Were my feet ready? YES. Was he prepared to help me? YES. Was I prepared to be helped? NOPE.
For a moment, I wanted to fight him on it and try some on anyway. I wanted to say, “C’mon, Terry. I’m just trying them on. It’s not like I’m buying them or anything. What’s so bad about that?” But I held it in. I told him I’d see him later this week with my shoes in hand, and then we’d get busy finding the right pair. He happily agreed and sent me out the door with a “See you later” rather than a goodbye altogether.
Ok, now for the life lesson...
It doesn't make sense to ask for help if we can’t bring out the junk. We can't be fitted for a new start if we are still hiding the old shoes that hold stories within their treads. When it comes time to retire an old habit, a long-standing addiction, or perilous thoughts, we cannot expect healing and freedom if we refuse to give up the old treads.
My running shoes are precious. I’ve run some great races in them, qualified for Boston, and PR'd at several distances (that's "personal record" for the non-runners). Yet, my shoes represent painful blisters, sore muscle mornings, and mileage that wore me down to the bone. Blood, sweat and tears live within the cushion, and it will be a sad day to depart from those shoes. But I cannot place my feet in a new pair for new adventures and new journeys without saying goodbye to the old pair.
Bring your shoes to the feet of Jesus. Bring them to your loved ones. Bring them to that mentor, or that teacher—whomever you trust. Christ is waiting with a spankin-new pair of kicks that are just dying to be worn! Won’t you slip your tired, weary feet into the cushioned soles of newness? There are more races to run, roads to travel, and sunrises to see.