I’ve never been a fan of shoes.
If I had the option to never wear shoes again, I’d take it in a heartbeat.
But, I’ve never been so glad that I own a pair of shoes in my life. This conversation just happened. Literally. About 30 minutes ago. Over a pair of shoes I was wearing, my Vibram 5 Fingers:
I was sitting in The Café On Broadway, a coffee shop. (Kind of funny, because I dislike coffee shops nearly as much as I do shoes, but my brother’s Internet was down, and I needed to finish a test and have it submitted by noon…) I had just hit the enter button to submit my test when this woman, probably in her early 20’s, came and sat down at my table. Following is our conversation, I’m just going to put it in quotation marks, you should be able to follow it pretty easily:
“Hi, I’m Pearl. Do you like your Vibram’s? Because I’ve been thinking about getting a pair, because I love hiking and climbing, and well, I just think they’d be great. But I’m not sure. What’s your opinion of them?”
“I’m Hannah. Yea, they’re great. I really like them. I’d especially recommend them if you’re not a huge fan of shoes, but also if you’re an amateur climber.”
“Are you a climber?”
“Well, I used to be, until I tore a ligament in my knee about a year and a half ago. I haven’t been cleared to do that type of activity yet.”
“Ah man, that stinks. How’d you tear it?”
“It was a snowboarding accident. My brother’s board got caught on mine and it caused my knee to bend a way it wasn’t supposed to…I did however finish down the mountain.”
“Nice. Sorry to hear that though. When will you be cleared to go climbing again?”
“Not sure. There’s a possibility that I re-tore it about a month ago. Just doing physical therapy for now, seeing if there’s any change.”
“That sucks. I bet you’re pretty pissed right now, huh?”
“Actually, I’m not mad at all. The first time I tore it, I was really angry, because I was supposed to play basketball in college, but obviously that’s not what God had for me.”
“God? I used to believe in Him, but now I don’t think God exists. Not with all the pain and suffering in this world.”
“What happened to make you change your mind?”
“My parents died 2 years ago in a car crash, they were headed to Fayetteville for my graduation.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Do you have any siblings?”
“No, I’m an only child. And both of my parents were only children too, so no aunts or uncles, and no cousins. Both sets of my grandparents past away when I was younger.”
“Wow. What’d you do after graduation?”
“Well, I got a job in the hospital here…I’m a nurse…Just been making some money, trying to start life. Since I have no family, there’s no one I’ve really been able to call for help. Which is fine, actually, it’s kind of nice. No one’s calling you every week seeing how your life’s going. It’s a relief.”
“Man, I don’t know what I’d do without that phone call every week. My parents, they mean the world to me.”
**(At this point, I knew that Pearl was hurting. I could see it in her eyes. My above statement was said with purpose. She was hurting, and hadn’t dealt with her pain.)**
Pearl looked at me, stared with disbelief for a moment, and then started to cry.
“You’re right, I didn’t realize how much I really enjoyed that phone call every week. Even though I thought my parents were being annoying, I really did enjoy hearing their voices every week. They’d ask me how I was doing, if I’d made any new friends, what plans I had for the weekend, etcetera. But most of all, they’d always pray with me before they hung up. Before they died, I was a Christian, I was reading my Bible, and I truly believed in God. I went into nursing because I thought He’d called me to that, mainly for mission work. But now, I don’t think God would ever want me. How could He? I completely turned my back on Him. I cursed His name and told Him He was a fake. How could He still love me after that?”
“Pearl, I promise you, God isn’t looking down at you with hate. No way. He’s sitting right there with arms open wide for you to run into. I know what you’ve gone through is hard, and being completely alone, well I honestly can’t imagine what that’s like. But I do know that I turned my back on God for two years, and lived a life that was anything but glorifying for His Kingdom, but God slapped me in the face with a verse out of Isaiah. ‘You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’(Isaiah 41:9,10) God has chosen you for a purpose. Your life is not a mistake. Yea, we go through crap in this world, but God’s always there, always. He’s not going to turn His back on us, even when we turn ours on Him. He loves us too much to do that.”
“I’ve never heard that verse before. So God isn’t upset with me? Even though I called Him all sorts of bad things, and thought awful thoughts about Him?”
“If God’s feelings were hurt every time someone called Him a name, then His feelings would never cease to stop being hurt.”
“Would you mind praying for me Hannah?”
“Peal, I’d love to.”
I might dislike shoes, but I was glad I was wearing them today.
I might have been annoyed earlier that my brother’s internet wasn’t working so I had to go to a coffee shop, but now I am even more confident in God’s power and His impeccable timing.
I want to encourage you to always be willing and ready for whatever God throws your way. He might bring a Pearl into your life, are you ready to talk to them? Are you continually equipping yourself with the Word in order to talk with people? Maybe your shoes will be a conversation starter, and we will have a new brother or sister in Christ. May God use whatever He wishes in your life to advance His kingdom.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His Kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:1,2