Come the end of this month my youngest will have done with school uniforms, so no more getting shirts ready on a Sunday night and best of all, and, the thing she is most looking forward to, no more school shoes. I think she sees a life ahead of pretty but impractical footwear and it seems very appealing.
Now I don’t want to burst any bubbles because I also like pretty and impractical shoes. However, I feel I have gone full circle and started buying - oh the horror - “sensible shoes” for work. It took me a few months of being on my feet all day to realise that pretty gets you nowhere and actually the bliss of a flat cushioned sole, albeit in a slightly boring shape, was a far richer gift.
And the funny thing is that when I started to look at other peoples’ footwear, most of the people who happily and contentedly went about their day had already reached that conclusion and I was well behind.
Once I started thinking about this it made sense in other bigger things in life. We think we want the better job, the bigger house, the newer car and we put so much energy into achieving it, yet sometimes when we get there we realise it isn’t bringing us the pleasure we thought and the personal cost may just be too high.
Jesus challenged those he preached to to leave aside the things that don’t matter, the stuff that we never use but thought we wanted and instead to focus on how we live, how we love ourselves, how we love others and how we love God. Maybe from a distance that seems like the sensible shoes option but actually it’s not. Changing our lives, allowing ourselves that freedom is liberating. John in his gospel uses the word joy to describe it - joy, not a quick burst of happiness but a lasting, deep joy which underlines our lives regardless of our circumstances.
Maybe in the same way we can only dance freely when our feet don’t hurt.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you.”
John 15 vs 11-12