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The bottom of our shoes-From the pulpit:

View:0 Date:2012-11-8
By Tripp Martin - Telegraph columnist Walking through the shoe store, I was tempted to ask the worker behind the counter, but I did not. He would have certainly had an inclination for answering my question because he works with shoes every day, but I did not know whether he paid more attention to people's new shoes or to their old shoes. Even though I was buying a new pair of shoes that day, I was more interested in old shoes rather than new ones.

If I take off my old pair of shoes and I look at the bottom of them, I can see the effect of walking many miles. On the bottom, every person's shoes look a little different, but they all have one thing in common. On the soles of my shoes, you can see how I walk. You can see the places that wear down the fastest. You can see where the friction is the worst.The bottom of everyone's shoes will look differently.

Over time, the heel might slant to the outside of the shoe, depending on how the person walks. The inside of the shoe might rub a hole in it before the outside does. Each shoe will be different, but they will all have in common the wear and tear of daily life.

I wanted to ask the worker at the store about the bottoms of people's shoes because you cannot normally see them. While a person is walking around, they are hidden, but when the worker helps people try on new shoes, he probably catches a glimpse of the old ones.

Normally, we do not want other people to see the soles of our shoes. Rarely do we allow people to see the slants and the holes, the wear and the tear. We spend time polishing the tops of our shoes because people will see the shine, but we do not let them see underneath, where the miles matter the most.

If we know that there is a hole on the bottom of our right shoe, we will only cross our left leg over our right. We will be careful not to lift our right shoe off of the ground in case we are embarrassed. Even though the wear and tear on our shoes is different for each person, we all have one thing in common. Our shoes are worn down by the pavement beneath our feet.

They will look differently, but the difference is less important than the similarity. When we look at the bottoms of our shoes, instead of seeing how we are different from others, we can see how we are the same.As one great saint once said, "Be kind to everyone you meet because everyone is fighting a great battle."

When we look at the soles of our shoes, we see the battles of our lives. We see how the pressure has been applied and how the miles have worn us down. We see the ongoing concerns that are still in our way. We see the worries and anxieties that feel overwhelming, but we also see what we hold in common because everyone is fighting a great battle.

The battles of our lives do not choose us based on the shoes that we wear. Whether our shoes are made out of imported leather or cheaply processed fiber, they will wear down. Whether they are designed for luxury or for work, they will eventually become uncomfortable. In looking at the soles of our shoes, they will wear down in different places, but eventually they will all bear evidence of the many miles we travel.

Each morning when we tie our shoelaces, we can look at the bottoms of our shoes, and we can remember that everyone is putting on shoes that are worn down by the battles of life. We can remember that our battles might be different, but we can recall that every person is fighting a great battle.

We can give thanks for the kindness of others that lifts our souls, giving us endurance for the journey. We can also make a commitment to be kind to everyone we meet, showing respect to one another, resisting assumptions about our neighbor, and living with reverent kindness in all that we do, for every person is fighting a great battle.Tripp Martin is the pastor of Vineville Baptist Church in Macon.---From Qifeng Shoes Machine.

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