Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thirty-two flavors and then some

Yesterday at 12:40 I walked out of my job for the last time.  While it was glorious and much needed, I will admit to missing the people (already) and being a little nervous about the new financial situation I find myself in.  But I believe it's better to be happy and a little strapped for cash than miserable with all the money in the world.

After I left work, mom and I went out for lunch, and I took her to a Mexican restaurant she's never been to.  We spent some time wondering around the mall, and when we were about half way through the journey we ran into her younger sister, who had stopped in to purchase some shoes for her husband for father's day.

Mom and I accompanied her to Finish Line, where I was hit hard with a realization.  Mom was looking at a pair of shoes when the sales person (a boy I went to high school with) approached her and started making his pitch.  The shoes mom was looking at were called Brooks, and apparently they can do everything but actually walk for you.  They have a thing in the arch that's supposed to stabilize your foot and make you walk straighter.  Then there's this button of air you can see on the sole of the heel that is supposed to adjust to the pressure on your feet when you step down.  The salesman talked for probably 3 minutes without taking a breath, just giving information about this high-tech, yet surprisingly normal looking shoe.

I wasn't really interested, so I started looking around the store and my upcoming trip to Ethiopia popped randomly into my head.  I thought of all the people in that country, and in the world, without shoes.  We're not talking shoes that adjust to your walking style or shoes to help you lose inches or shoes designed for a specific activity like walking or running.  Just shoes to keep your feet covered, protect you from the elements, maybe help you to be able to walk a few years longer.  Here I am, standing in a store with 25 bays of shoes, each of which probably has at least 20 single shoes on display.  That's 500 shoes on display alone.  That doesn't count the mates to those displays, or the various sizes stocked in the back, or the shoes on display on tables in the middle of the store.

My mind was blown.  I sat on a bench for a moment, trying to imagine what it would be like to be a person who had lived without shoes my entire life, and walking into a store like this. 

I couldn't.

Then my mind took it a little farther - this is just one store in the mall.  There are at least 3 other stores devoted solely to shoes in the mall, not to mention all the department stores and small chains that sell shoes too.  We could shoe an entire country without making a dent.

Realizations like this one make me incredibly sad and humble but blessed and motivated all at the same time.  There are so many days I go through without thinking about what I have, about all I've been given and privileged to, and I use those gifts to maintain or obtain my own selfish desires.

Does anyone else think about these things?  Surely I can't be the only one...

1 comment:

  1. You're definitely not the only one. I think a lot of people, myself included, think about it. The question is, what do we do about it?