30 Days of Gratitude: Day Two, “Shoes”

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Erika Marchant

I am grateful for shoes. 

Dear Shoes, 

Of all the feet that trod the earth, all 7,462,990,000 pairs (and counting!), I’m pretty darn grateful you’re on mine.

Shoes (Yes, you. And, no, not the ones with the heels, or the ones with the glitzy gold lettering, or even the ones with those fancy silver zippers up the sides. I’m talking to you, simple laces and soles and all.), thanks for that calming tapping sound you make when I stroll down an empty hallway. You kept me calm on that first day of elementary school, my three foot tall, five year old self meandering aimlessly around those ABC-poster-plastered hallways, when you click-clacked rhythmically against the tiles floors. You kept me sane, even if it drove everyone else around insane, as you squeaked when I twisted my feet against the puddle-ridden floor of the public bus on that cold March morning. You kept me from stubbing my toe each and every time I tripped up those hard, unforgiving metal steps of the dingy middle school staircases.

Shoes, no matter how much flack I get from my friends about how dirty or worn you appear– all too well, you and I know the remark, “so, when are you gonna buy new shoes?”– I know I’ll never find another pair that’s been there for me the way you have. Hey sandals, you were there that time I made the trek down that dusty, orange path twisting down the Grand Canyon’s side. Remember how at the three mile mark, that bearded hiker kid asked, perplexed, about how I’d made it all that way with you on my feet? Remember how I laughed when he shouted, “whoah, you hiked all that way in sandals?” Yeah, that was pretty funny. Sneakers, remember that time I realized I had three minutes and twenty seconds to clear two city blocks to make it to the train on time? My friends almost didn’t make it to Union Station; their shoes fit too funny, or slipped off as soon as we took off to sprint. But, not you– you were made to run. And flip flops, thanks for keeping my toes intact the time we crossed the floor of that mountain stream, protecting them against those jagged rocks beneath the water.

Remember that time last month when I stepped on that piece of gum? Or that other time when I stepped in dog poop on that sidewalk? I still can’t thank you enough for having taken one for the team when the alternative of me being without you was disastrous.

Needless to say, you’ve been the most reliable and useful article of clothing I have. But, I have to admit: I’m not always so grateful to have you around. Sometimes I trip on your laces, or can’t adjust them on one foot to match the other side just right. Or, when they get all tangled up into those impossible knots– man, that is the worst. It’s in those exasperating moments that I find myself thinking, “why do we even need shoes anyways? Being barefoot is more comfortable, anyways.”

It’s the frustrating times like those that I fail to recognize that I’m pretty lucky to get to put you on my feet every single day. It’s the frustrating times like those that I forget that there are nearly 300 million kids that just can’t afford a good pair of shoes.

Not everyone on the planet is so lucky to get to to wear shoes like you all around. To get to wear those flashy sneakers as they walk to school, or drive to work, or dance around. People don’t always remember that almost half of the world doesn’t even own a single pair of shoes, while people around here own up to ten, fifteen, twenty pairs. But hey, who knows? Maybe eventually you and I can travel somewhere else so that we can bring all the other kids in the world their own pairs of shoes.

Sure, it’s easy to take you for granted sometimes. But, marching, trudging, promenading, running, skipping– I know you’re always gonna be there when I need you. Thanks, shoes.

Sincerely,

A grateful pair of feet

 

P.S. For anyone other thankful shoe-owners who would like to spread the love to those without shoes, check out Soles4Souls to help out!