A mum and her wee daughter came in to our “Caring Closet” to make a donation of clothes. It was a wonderful gift, not only because of the two large bins she provided, but because she was teaching her toddler about the joys of giving and sharing. The young future giver was wearing a pair of bright pink and white rubber boots that were almost has happy as her great big smile. I mentioned to the mum how much fun the boots were. She smiled and then mock-grimaced, saying “Yeah, and we have to wear our “Reality Shoes”.
Yes indeed, there comes a point in life when fun footwear seems to go by the wayside in favour of comfortable work shoes, practical winter boots, or well-worn runners ready for the track or gym. Bright coloured boots that are more pretty than practical? Not so much. Adulting means donning the appropriate footy apparel, otherwise known as “Reality Shoes”.
Or does it? Are adults confined to comfy, bland hospital shoes that all but yell “Borrrrrring!” or tough as nails construction boots that look like armoured cars? Well, yes. And, if we’re honest, we even make sure that our kids have the right footwear for safety and comfort reasons. After all, there’s nothing worse than a toddler with cold, wet, sore feet after a caregiver lets him wear the “cool shoes” on a wet, slushy day.
There is a place for “Reality Shoes”. At times safety and comfort have to be of paramount concern. But on Sunday morning, when I’m only leading worship in a nice, warm, dry sanctuary, the fun shoes come out. The Loafers. The Oxfords. The shoes that look good but might just be a tad on the tight side, or might not offer quite enough support for a long, rigorous hike. Forget the “Reality Shoes”, I want something stylish, even if they’re not perfectly comfortable or practical. For one hour or so. it’s worth it.
God created us with the ability to do hard work. To make intelligent choices. To be safe and practical. To choose the “Reality Shoes” over the bright pink happy boots that make fun noises when you tromp around in them. God also created us to lie on the grass and guess whether the cloud above looks like a dragon or a ’31 Ford Coupe. We were created to sing loudly and joyfully even if we can’t hold.a bucket in a tune, and to wear the Loafers that look good but feel a little pinchy after a while. That too is our reality: moments of being serious with times of having fun. Fun boots and boring work shoes. Mowing the lawn or laying in the grass. And, curiously enough, there are times when our reality is the best of both worlds, as we take pleasure in what we do, enjoy the fun boots worn by a toddler learning to be a sharing, caring person, or even wearing “Reality Shoes” whilst happily donating clothes for a good cause.