I was just thinking about shoes. Whoever changed the “What’s Happening!” bulletin board to give me a welcome, complete with cut-outs of Converse All-Star sneakers, thank you. I actually sent a picture of it to my family with the simple caption, “I am home!” I am glad that my choice of dress footwear has made such an impact, because black and white low-cut Chuck Taylors (the shoes in quest ion) are my hopeful shoes.
Ten years ago, I was working in a comedy club doing short-form improvisation, which is similar to Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but not really. I was having a bad streak at the club; I was not feeling like I fit in, like I was connecting with the audience or other players, and that it was perhaps a better use of my time (and that of the patrons, and the performers) if I parted ways. To cap everything off, one night I arrived having forgotten my tennis shoes–I was in the habit of wearing these black clunkers that looked a lot like loafers, ironically–and thankfully, there was a pair of black and white low-cut Chuck Taylors in my size, left in the green room by someone who had since left the club. I had the best show of my life.
Surely, I had just hit my stride, or I started listening to what was going on instead of just hearing, or the other performers were far worse than I was–I don’t know. It wasn’t the shoes; I am not Forrest Gump. I do know that after that show, I kept the shoes, and they kind of became my thing. I’ve gone through a dozen pairs since–when I graduated college, and divinity school; when I was ordained; at just about every wedding I have ever been to. The shoes don’t have special powers, but they do remind me that there’s hope. That something new can always happen. That it is never too late. That things change, sometimes when we are not ready. And that if we put ourselves out there, things happen. So thank you, bulletin board changer, for yet another reminder that there’s all this hope at Midway Hills, too.
This Sunday, I’ll be wearing my Chucks. This Sunday, we’ll be not only talking about the hope we have in Christ, but the hope we have at Midway Hills, in our lives together and lives apart, and the hopes we haven’t even realized yet. It will be a good day, and I hope to see you then.