I don't remember the exact moment I decided to begin walking, but I do remember deciding to get up on my feet because my knees hurt from crawling. I've covered a lot of territory and left a lot of footprints behind me since then. I muse about this sometimes, and my thoughts go this way . . . let's imagine what would happen if person who rarely sits down averages a humble 3 miles per hour on average for 8 hours a day. In about three years of steady progress that person could walk about 24,000 miles, enough to circumnavigate the earth upon reaching their fourth birthday or so. Magic is applying, of course, from the get go, so not only can our walker keep moving seven days a week but they can also move equally well on water or land. More magic on the way . . . Suppose this child spied with a little eye the moon up in the sky and set off to get there. About 240,000 miles and thirty years later they could put a footprint in the lunar dust, and after another thirty years could arrive back on earth as a sixty year old. That's my life to now, and walking to the moon and back would be quite satisfying. But since we've already suspended the laws of life and physics and are well into fuzzy math let's go on . . . If we set our sights on visiting the sun, somewhere beyond 90,000,000 miles off, we could stroll there in a short 10,000 years. Suppose we get there and, finding our little star interesting enough, decide we want to check out the next nearest star for comparison. Alpha Centauri is around 300,000 times farther away from earth than the sun is. Moving on, we will arive in about 3,000,000,000 years . . . which is a span of time many times greater than the existence of the universe. If I want to see any more stars in my galaxy I'll have to speed up a bit since there are billions of them. And there are billions of galaxies besides this one, at unimaginable distances away. Which gets me thinking . . . in a creation so vast, isn't just about anything possible? Maybe all good things start with baby steps.
So, I laugh at myself when I realize I have a lot of shoes. This small hoard from a guy who often forgets to wear them, whether taking out the trash in the rain, tromping in the garden, even showing up for church meetings (I'm the pastor! Well, what would Jesus do?) My son Phillip gave me a hand-me-down pair of black Vans last year, which started me down a path (hah) I have tread a long way on. Those first ones are now comfy camping and beach shoes. But I now have acquired four "dress" Vans I wear with different outfits. I'm hoping to get a pair for each color of the church liturgical seasons to wear as I lead worship on Sundays. I've already mostly abandoned my regular oxford-style dress shoes, though of course I keep a black pair and brown pair. At some point I decided I needed some Converse All Star tennis shoes, too. As with the others, I haunt Good Will until my size comes in. After a few months my black, low-top All Stars showed up. Now I have a continuing urge to create a rainbow set of these. I would never buy all these shoes new, of course. The Converse sneakers I wore for gym in Junior High only cost a couple of dollars; now they are stylin', are made in Korea, and most importantly cost more than canvas and rubber should ever be worth, in my frugal mind. So, besides finding myself amusing, I have also felt guilty about having so many shoes, and at odds with myself for having a brutal time ever throwing a pair of shoes away. I still have five or six old pairs of running shoes, for instance. One is still for running; the others are stashed for camping, several sitting in a chest on the porch, saturated with with mud and stained green from mowing the lawn. Yet why do I need three of those? Another curiosity: Boots! I have one pair. I hate them and avoid wearing them even when it would make sense to do so. You'd think boots are a good bet for hiking in rainy weather. I'd rather wear sneakers and have wet toes than stuff my feet into boots. Pedal Claustrophobia! Unhappy feet, unhappy me. Well a light bulb lit the other day when yet again I stood snooping the shoe racks at Good Will. Why Oh Why am I drooling over a pair of metalic silver Converse All Stars I absolutely do not need, yet am too cheap to pay out the $20 bucks for such an obviously AWESOME ride? I am also, in this process, preoccupied with an urge to buy shoes for my boys. So there is the clue. This is one of those things that shows up from a formative experience growing up. When I started elementary school, I got one pair of shoes, which usually happened to be Redwing boots, to last the whole year. I don't remember having any other shoes; yes we were poor at the time. So I don't like boots to this day. I dislike dress shoes because my first pair, over which we made a great fuss because it was such a big financial move, hurt my feet. I like canvas tennis shoes because of good memories in P.E. class. I cringe to throw away a pair of shoes that still have life in them, no matter how grungy they get, because of a neurotic insecurity about having shoes to wear at all. I like going barefooted because it is one answer to the shoe question. Who needs them, anyway? And of course I love to give shoes to my own children. Lots of them! Even if they roll their eyes. But I'm happy they love shoes for the simple sake of feeling good in them. So Dad can be silly. Does this scratch my itch about shoes? Naw! There is still room in the closet!