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Steff’s Stuff—Shoes and Blues

sandals

By Stephanie McIver

Some things seem so innocent—and make perfect sense. But in the end, they cause pain. You look back and say, “I should have seen that coming. I should have known better. Why did I DO that?!”

I have been dealing with some pretty daunting circumstances lately and the resulting depression has frightened me. It’s frightened a friend of mine too—because he has never seen me this down. He has been checking on me constantly, with phone calls and visits, praying for me and reading me scriptures on the phone in the middle of the day. It has been a great blessing and I have felt the effects of that care, moving from deep ‘doodoo’ into a place of peace and the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’.

I really hit bottom yesterday morning. I couldn’t write—I had nothing in me that would get these fingers moving. I slogged through what felt like the longest day of my life, withdrawn and hurting. But about three o’clock, something inside me said, “Enough is enough! You are NOT going to go to sleep and wake up in heaven—at least not today. He didn’t answer that prayer (and I wasn’t suicidal—just very, very tired). This is NOT who you are—do NOT give in to it. Find something to give you joy—or at least stop meditating on the things that are bringing you sorrow. You have choices. You have determination. You have JESUS. Get up and boogie, girl!”

I made it through the last few hours at work a little less dragged down. I stopped on the way home and got a haircut—and I must be on a roll—this was a GOOD haircut, from one of those cheap places in the mall by my house. I walked right in and was served immediately. When she was done, I realized that my very HAIR has been dragging me down. I felt lighter immediately.

My friend called when I got home. “I’m coming over in an hour, as soon as I finish dinner.” Good, I had some thoughts I wanted to share. I sat on the deck and listened to the wind in the trees. I drank a glass of iced tea/limeade—summer is made of such concoctions. When he pulled up, I said, “Let’s go for a walk! It’s gorgeous out!” I was thinking a short trek, maybe a mile to Wendy’s and we could get a Frosty.

He looked at my shoes and said, “Do you need to change? Those don’t look like walking shoes…” “Oh, they’re fine. Flat sandals. I’ve been wearing them all day—and look how CUTE they are!” We set off into the evening, me reading some recent ‘stuff’ that I wanted to get critiqued. He was laughing and gently guiding me along so I didn’t walk into tree branches as I read. We were almost to Wendy’s and he said, “Ugh! I just had a big bowl of ice cream right before I came over, and I am SO FULL!” So much for my frosty. We kept walking. Automatically fell into the loop that is so familiar—and about three miles from beginning to end. The world was out for a stroll. We saw kids on bikes and joggers and other couples, people walking their dogs. Sprinklers were hissing on verdant lawns all around us.

About two miles into this unexpectedly LONGER THAN I HAD ANTICIPATED walk, my feet were starting to hurt. Those cute, flat sandals have NO padding on the bottom. I was walking fast, keeping up with a much taller person, who lopes along like a clueless GORILLA (sorry, just kidding!). I could feel blisters developing on the ball of one foot and the heel of the other. I said, “We need to slow down. My feet are starting to hurt.” He glanced at my cute shoes—and said nothing. Grace comes in the form of silence sometimes. We walked slower but it wasn’t helping. Every step made my feet a little more raw. I took off the shoes and walked in some wet grass for a while, but there wasn’t enough to get me home. We got to the busy street and I saw stretches of sidewalk, gravel and bark-a-mulch. Not a green lawn in sight. I put the shoes back on to protect my raw feet from stones and rubble. I was limping now and the compensating gait I had to adopt for my sore soles was causing the muscles in my calves to cramp up. We were still at least a half a mile from home. “Do you want to sit down, Steph? I can walk back and get my car.”

“NO! I’m FINE! Just keep walking!” We made it into my little park and I decided that I should stick my feet in the pool. He insisted at that point. “I’m going to get the car. Just stay there and rest. I’ll be back in a minute.” Those last few yards to the pool were excruciating. I sat down at the edge and put my feet in the not-so-cool water. It felt good, until the cramps in my legs kicked in and I had to leap up and endure the lesser pain from my feet. I danced a mincing dance, witnessed by a neighbor. “Are you alRIGHT?” she asked skeptically. “Oh I just walked too far in these shoes and rubbed my feet raw. I’ll be fine. My friend went to get the car. I just need to get off them and let them start healing.”

It was good to get home and put my feet up. I was tired but I was also aware that life moves on. The cramps in my calves woke me a few times during the night and though my feet were still tender, each passing hour brought a little more healing. My feet are still a bit raw this morning, but no walks are planned. The cute sandals looked up and laughed at me as I passed them this morning. I don’t blame them. I’ll wear them again—a few DECADES from now!

This was in an e-mail for a motivational book this morning:

‘A few years ago a health study determined there are three main reasons people can’t cope in life:

1. They live in the past

2. They have low self esteem

3. They can’t laugh at themselves.”

The first two had been demonstrated in my recent depression. Both of those factors were HUGE. The enemy KNOWS what memories to bring up, what defeats to magnify. He did that well in the past few weeks. But my God is bigger than that. He is better than that. And He continues to tell me that those things are NOT my present reality. Not even the low self esteem part—not anymore. I LIKE who I have become. And I will use it for His glory—because if I can walk away from the lies, so can you! If I can get up and sing His glory, I will. There is no greater joy in life—and nothing—NOTHING—is going to stop me now. Put on your armor and get out there, He has gone before. The path is GREEN, SOFT, and VERDANT. It will soothe your aching soul (and soles).

And laugh at yourself. I was fortunate enough to be with a friend who didn’t scold me for my poor choice of footwear. He just went and got the car. And I came home and the healing process began.

No, the healing process had started before the walk did. It carried me through even more pain—this time physical pain, but that will pass quickly. The emotional and spiritual pain might take a bit longer—but He is in charge of that. Isn’t that a relief?

Keep praying for one another. We all need to be lifted up and we all fall into pits. And please, PLEASE, think about what your day will bring. Be prepared.

Wear the right shoes!

Fondly,

Stephanie

©2009 Stephanie McIver. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bio:
Stephanie McIver is a self-confessed “Scatter-brained Control Freak.” Living life in the 21st century as a baby boomer/old hippy chick grandma (with issues) has given her a unique take on life. Always looking to the Lord for the daily bread that comes no matter what other circumstances present themselves, Stephanie has a desire to comfort those who have hurt as she has. The pain of divorce was an unexpected sorrow that has given her new insights into many people’s lives in ways she never thought she would encounter. She has been writing devotionals on the internet since 2000 to an email based subscriber list—it was originally a Monday morning column, but about a year and a half ago, she felt the Lord telling her to write every day. “Are you SURE, Lord? EVERY DAY?!” He has been faithful to give her new words on a daily basis since then. She also is on KORE Radio in the Eugene/Springfield area weekday mornings. She has a five minute radio spot at 7:30 and 9:15 a.m. which has attracted a new local audience. She also writes for the Springfield Times and her church newsletter. To read some of Stephanie’s columns, visit http://lists.topica.com/lists/stephsstuff/read. She is also available to speak at your event. Contact her at steph@stephaniemciver.com.