Soul & Soles

You might think my love of shoes is about fashion or glamour.  Oh, but it is about so much more.  Whether we are home in slippers, venturing out in running shoes or hiking boots, wearing pumps and a business suit, stepping out in high heels and a little black dress or barefooted at the beach, our soles carry us to the places our souls desire.  Shoes are about movement, but they also keep us firmly planted as we take our position, wearing heels in the boardroom or hiking boots to conquer the terrain. Shoes are part of our daily armor allowing us to stand firm when met with opposition. Shoes can also be utilitarian (comfort, safety, sports, dancing).

Over the years, many people and things attempted to knock me down, make me misstep or lose my way.  Shoes have cushioned my tired feet, given me confidence, steadied me and allowed me to exhale in relief as I reached each destination. It all started with an excited little girl pulling on the intricately stitched brown leather boots I picked out myself and going on adventures that only cowgirls could embark upon.  Smiling, heart pumping, I sported red canvas high tops as I accelerated down the sidewalk, adjusted myself on the glittery gold banana seat, lifted my feet off the pedals, pointed them forward, simultaneously letting go of the handlebar grips, spreading my little girl arms out wide in a moment of flying free from chores, the whirring of the wind through the bicycle spokes replaced the loud arguments between my parents (divorced a few years later).

In my adult years, the shoes worn by four pairs of little feet quickly grew into a heap of shoes in the corner, and in another flash, the only shoes remaining were mine.  Taking care of my children had always been my reason to never give up. Right there and then, taking care of me had to be my reason. Arriving at work on a mid-August morning in 2015, velvety red five-inch pumps with gold embellished straps and heels carried me one determined step after another to my supervisor’s desk as I handed in my resignation after 17 years.  “Dorothy” had been to see the Wizard, and she was going home.  By the first weekend in September I sold my home, resigned and moved from Minnesota to North Carolina. Continuing forward, I took time to visit my sons, who were then living in Hawaii.  I traded my red heels for black walking shoes. The protective closure over my toes, air slots and cushioned soles supported my feet, keeping me steady hiking up the mountains.  The soles demonstrated practicality while my soul was exhilarated, determined and laughing in this quality time with my sons.

Even more dreams were coming true for this once brokenhearted woman, a survivor of domestic and sexual violence.  The white shopping bag I carried with the words “Handbags & Shoes Paris” in silver, held inside it a pair of lush black velvet booties with gold buttons. As I boarded my flight home from a work trip, I set my bag down and sat in my assigned spot, the very first seat of the airplane. Tears welled up seeing how far God had taken me from the stereotypes of an unwed mother of four who by “popular opinion” would never amount to anything. 

Equally memorable and of deep sentimental value are my purple patent leather pumps.  These were a gift (no special occasion) from my younger daughter.  No one had given me shoes (other than slippers) as an adult, and here was this gesture of love and appreciation in this shiny pair of pumps in my favorite color.  This beautiful gift from my younger daughter, a single mom herself, meant so much to me.  Knowing what it was like to walk in my shoes, she gifted me the perfect pumps. 

Although shoes are part of what equips us on the outside, it is ultimately the synchronicity of heart, mind and soul that inspires the action our soles take. I am grateful for you joining me on this journey of soul and soles, sharing stories, navigating life’s path, step by step…learning and lighting the way, together.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? Feel free to share your memories of heart, mind, soul inspiring you to action.