We Forget Just Who We Are

I couldn’t sleep last night, lost in my own thoughts and fears. I paced the hallway, through the kitchen, stopping in the living room to stare out the window at nothing.

What if I just left? I wondered. What would happen?

Nothing. Everything.

You do this to yourself, he told me, You get all worked up about nothing and then don’t sleep. You’re pushing me away.

So what if that’s true? What then? Well, stop, right? Except I become consumed with these fears and this lonliness and this feeling that no one really understands. I do, I understand. I love you, I want you. But I need the old you back. You have to stop pushing me away, he pleads. I see frustration or anger or pity in his eyes, though I’m not sure what is really there and what I’m imagining.

I sat down, in the darkness last night and thought to myself that I am numb. I feel nothing, everything. This road is dark and scary. I crouched onto my knees and prayed. Simple, desperate.
Please help me.
Please help me.
I’m lost. I need you. Please don’t leave me.
Please help me fix my shoes.

You see, I had been reading this metaphor:
“Imagine that you purchase a beautiful pair of leather Italian loafers. With proper care they should last a lifetime. A special oil to protect the leather is included with your purchase. Regular treatment is recommended to ensure the life of the shoes. But by and by, you get busy, a little lazy, and yes, a little careless too. You’re not as careful with the shoes as you once were. Not even applying the oil protector anymore, you slosh through rain, take shortcuts through snow, and, instead of drying them properly, you sling them haphazardly in the garage each time.

Then one day you slip your feet into your shoes and are shocked to see the soles are doing this little “slap, slap, slap,” as you walk. Looking down, you’re shocked to see they need new soles. You can’t believe how dingy and dirty they’ve become. They’re also all you have. Ashamed and embarrassed, you understand the reality: at least for the foreseeable future, you must walk in broken shoes.”

It goes on to talk about asking God for new shoes, because the shoes are really your broken heart/spirit. But maybe we only get one pair of shoes. They are brilliant and clean and beautiful, and we relish in them, in the eternal love of others, our love of self. We are but children. But eventually, we forget to take care of them. And one day, it’s like these dirty shoes have become something we’re ashamed of, something to hide. But not because they actually *are* something causing shame, only because we’ve neglected them. So it doesn’t matter that you can’t actually see anyone else’s shoes, you imagine them to all be beautiful. And it doesn’t matter what anyone says to you, because deep down, you know that your shoes aren’t any good.

I don’t doubt that God wants every single person’s shoes to shine. I believe in a God that created hope and love and beauty and enlightenment, but it’s not really God’s job to shine our shoes for us (otherwise they never would have gotten tattered in the first place). That’s the difficult part, you see. Shining your shoes and loving them exactly as they are. Maybe the longer we go without taking care of them, the harder it is for them to come clean. Maybe they never do, but will forever be lined with creases. Maybe those creases are beautiful, too, because they are the moments you worked hard to get through.

It’s not about my children’s shoes or my husband’s shoes, because if I can’t figure out how to consistently clean the shit off my own soulsole, their beauty seems to constantly outshine my own. And my own seems to be unworthy of them.

“In the pain of our journey, we forget just who we are.”

I say it over and over again, every few days to myself. You are strong. You are smart. You are wonderful. But it seems like eventually I run out of those thoughts and let the other ones take over. Eventually, I beat my own self down, to my own damn detriment, and if that’s not the perfect fucking definition of self-defeating behaviour, I don’t know what is.

Is our journey painful because we make it so, because we let it be, or because it must be? I’m not a victim here and am quite possible the antagonist.

You don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve this.

And I keep having to respond with, Yes. I do. I must. I do. This is mine.

A constant battle, arm-wrestle, pushing contest.

I’m worried about you, he said to me.

Yeah. Me too.

Please help me.
Please don’t leave me.
Please help me fix my shoes.

4 Comments on “We Forget Just Who We Are

  1. Very honest post and I don’t have the words to say to make it magically better, but I wanted to tell you i am thinking of you and praying for you. xo

  2. Dear girl. I’m sad to see you struggling so much these days. I’m doing Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” in a book/Bible study with some really awesome women right now. It’s life-changing. Maybe you have someone who can be a spiritual mentor for you and you can work your way through that book as well? I’ll be praying for you and your shoes! xo

  3. Pingback: This Little Light of Mine « Sweaty Sneakers

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