SPRING SUNDAY: A GOOD PAIR OF SHOES
There’s a little pair of tennis shoes on the top shelf of my closet. I should probably pass them along. Siri’s feet are more than twice their size. My younger daughter Quincy last squeezed into them around Christmas. They are orange and have cute frogs embroidered on the sides. The construction is solid, the tread intact. The Velcro makes the shoes easy on, easy off, perfect for speeding out the door. Some kid would love them.
I should probably pass the shoes along, but I can’t. Not yet. Both of my children learned to ride bikes in these shoes. They first hiked into the canyons of Utah in them. I have photos of Siri racing around a playground in these shoes after Quincy’s birth. They were her “big sister” gift, telling her: you are no longer a baby; you are a girl, about to have amazing new adventures. There were a lot of firsts in these shoes.
Buddhist philosophy tells us to free ourselves from our possessions. Reminds us that when we free ourselves from desire, we free ourselves from pain. Movies like Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff encourage us to buy less and share more. In doing so, Leonard argues that we will be better, and our planet will be better. I agree. One of my favorite folktales tells of a Japanese man who would give away everything his friends desired. If someone complimented his sweater, he gave it away. He gave away his bicycle, his books, his dishes. It got to the point where friends would warn visitors not to compliment him—they were worried their friend would lose everything. But the man didn’t worry. For he knew that to give is to be happy.
I know that sometime soon I will pass along these little orange shoes along and be happier for it. But for now, I can’t. Glancing at their splash of orange in the morning reminds me to cherish the time with my children. The days can feel long, but the years are so fast. They also remind me of the value of playing a quick game of chase or riding around the block with my kids. Even the briefest time outside can restore our souls. Finally, those tiny tennis shoes remind me of all the different shoes I’ve worn in my life. The places I’ve run. The people I’ve met. The children I’ve had. A good pair of shoes can go a long way.