Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dirty Ole' Shoe

This was sent to me by a friend.  It's simply too rich to NOT pass along ...

I showered and shaved; I adjusted my tie.

I got there and sat in a pew just in time.

Bowing my head in prayer, as I closed my eyes.

I saw the shoe of the man next to me,
touching my own. I sighed.

With plenty of room on either side, I thought,
'Why must our soles touch?'

It bothered me, his shoe touching mine...
But it didn't bother him much.

A prayer began: 'Our Father' I thought, '
This man with the shoes,  has no pride.

They're dusty, worn, and scratched. Even worse,
there are holes on the side!'

'Thank You for blessings,' the prayer went on.

The shoe man said a quiet 'Amen.'

I tried to focus on the prayer, but my
thoughts were on his shoes again.

Aren't we supposed to look our best.
When walking through that door?

'Well, this certainly isn't it,' I thought,
glancing toward the floor.

Then the prayer was ended,
and the  songs of praise began.

The shoe man was certainly loud,
sounding proud as he sang.

His voice lifted the rafters, his hands were raised high.

The Lord could surely hear the
shoe man's voice from the sky.

It was time for the offering;
and what I threw in was steep.

I watched as the shoe man reached
into his pockets so deep.

I saw what was pulled out; what the shoe man put in.

Then I heard a soft 'clink' ... as when silver hits tin.

The sermon really bored me to tears, and that's no lie.

It was the same for the shoe man,
for tears fell from his eyes.

At the end of the service, as is the custom here...

We must greet new visitors,
And show them all good cheer.

But I felt moved somehow,
and wanted to meet the shoe man.

So after the closing prayer,
I reached over and shook his hand.

He was old and his skin was dark,
and his hair was truly a mess.

But I thanked him for coming, for being our guest..

He said, 'My names' Charlie,
I'm glad to meet you, my friend.'

There were tears in his eyes, but he had a large, wide grin.

'Let me explain,' he said, wiping tears from his eyes.

'I've been coming here for months,
and you're the first to say 'Hi.''

'I know that my appearance is not like all the rest.

'But I really do try to always look my best.'

'I always clean and polish my
shoes before my very long walk.

'But by the time I get here,
they're dirty and dusty, like chalk.'

My heart filled with pain,
and I swallowed to hide my tears.

As he continued to apologize, for daring to sit so near

He said, 'When I get here, I know I must look a sight.

'But I thought if I could touch you,
'Then maybe our souls might unite.'

I was silent for a moment, knowing whatever was said

Would pale in comparison;
I spoke from my heart, not my head.

'Oh, you've touched me,' I said, 'And taught me, in part;

'That the best of any man
'Is what is found in his heart.'

The rest, I thought, This shoe-man will never know -

Like just how thankful I really am,
that his dirty old shoe touched my soul.


Maryann said...

We don't always know the whole story do we? A good reminder to engage and go beyond appearances. Thanks for sharing this

Debbie said...

Loved this! : )

Just a little something from Judy said...

What a blessing it was for me to read this. God's love flowing through us is so powerful. It is not for us to decide where that love is to flow. We are only the vessels. Loved this story. Thanks for sharing it. I want to remember it anywhere and everywhere I go.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Let me first wipe my know we can even do this to someone who looks great and yet we never know that their heart is aching.

He sang because He knows what an awesome God we serve, he has seen him in another way...through the struggles and the lack.

May we always consider we don't know the story of the person beside us in the pews...God does, and we should want to touch their many times just a hello would have warmed my aching heart and I know it does others.

What an encouragement as I look forward to church this weekend and who God places beside me!!