“Your Shoe is Untied” (Retaking the Village Green 2/20/20)

I never thought I would envy my father’s shoes.

Years ago, when I would visit my Dad in Florida, he would take great pleasure in showing me all the newest things he discovered to make his retirement years easier. On one particular visit, he was excited to show me his new sneakers. Besides being the plain white uniform sneaker that seemed required of all the retirees in his development, I saw nothing noteworthy until, with great glee he demonstrated, “Look, no tying!” as he quickly put them on and off with the aid of a Velcro strap across the top. “We can stop and get you a pair as well when we head out after golf.” I offered my mumbled, “Thanks, I have new sneakers,” and quickly changed the topic.

Velcro on sneakers just seemed to be one of those “Change of life things” that happened to him and his friends when they retired. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how convenient they are when maybe your mobility starts to decrease, the floor gets too far away, or you are late for the free samples of cheese at the local store. I felt superior not needing this technological innovation given to us by the Vulcans (if you get that reference let me know), I kept my footwear on with shoelaces like nature intended. I scoffed at the concept, until recently when I broke a shoelace on a favorite pair of shoes.

In my lacing naiveté I thought, “Not a problem, I’ll just pick up a new pair.” What a foolish thought. What I thought would be a simple search for a piece of colored twine turned into a fishing expedition (considered using fishing line briefly) to multiple stores to only find this simple fashion accessory almost impossible to find in either the right color, shape? (who knew), length and consistency. Choices were limited. No, did not want lime green for my black shoes. When I asked one hapless sales associate at my last stop why this was so hard, the answer was, “Not many requests, most people buy new shoes.” This simple, required clothing piece is branded, “unnecessary and replaceable.”

“Why this long diatribe on footwear?” As I pondered my next move on solving my problem, it occurred to me that many view the church today in much the same way. Once seen as essential, now seen as an optional accessory that is replaced by the next best thing that makes my life easier. I am not talking about the institution, but the relationship that comes from being united together in faith with God and others through Christ that keeps my life together and moving forward. The belief, “This is necessary” is replaced with, “What else you got.”

The search for a community of believers which “fits” may take time and energy, but in the long run, is well worth it. Once I find one, invest myself in one regularly, I may find that when my life becomes untied, I have a place that will help me get back on my feet again.

I eventually solved my problem after many failed attempts. I am not ready for Velcro yet (sorry Dad). I can now walk comfortably again secure in the knowledge this should not happen again for a long time. If it does, I know the search was worth it and I would do it again.

Now, anyone want to buy my extra laces?

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