I put on my most sparkly pair of shoes this Shrove Tuesday morning. It might not have been the wisest idea, given the weather here warmed up enough to rain and now that it’s cold again there’s a lot of frozen rain (read: ice). But today was the day to wear the most sparkly, fabulous shoes… for tonight, I buried them.
Well, not literally buried them. I put them in a box (read: big rubbermaid) along with all my other colorful shoes and put the box in my closet. In went point-toes and almonds, stilettos and flats, red loafers and blue glitter platforms. Yellow, blue, silver, white, wine, brown, glittler, sequins, canvas, leather, and even animal print… they all were buried in this rubbermaid tote.
I’m burying my shoes for Lent.
I’ve been thinking about it for several months, burying my shoes for Lent. More and more over the last year, I feel as if my shoes have replaced me. I know it’s partially my own doing (I mean, hello, this is steeples and stilettos & I have written about my love of shoes before).
I do realize that wearing shoes that sparkle like the ones I wore today will stand out and will get attention or could make you be known as “the pastor with sparkly shoes” to the doctors in the ER. What bothered me isn’t that my shoes would get noticed (I do own some fabulous shoes) or that they occasionally drew attention. What bothered me is that it began to feel like that’s all people would talk about and focus on. When “let me see your shoes!” is said even before “good morning!”, something needs to change.
It isn’t that giving someone compliments on their shoes is a bad thing or that I hated someone making comments, and I do have to admit “the pastor with sparkly shoes” would be a great title for my memoir. It’s also pretty adorable when a young girl (or boy!) tells me they like my shoes or want to show me that they have on fun shoes too.
It isn’t genuine compliments, or words of endearment, or the “Pastor wears pretty shoes too!” that made me want to bury my shoes, but that, for some, it became the default.
My shoes became the first (and sometimes only) thing people would talk to me about. And I have so much more to say than “my shoes are from nine west” or “no, it isn’t hard to walk in heels”. Let’s talk about what God is up to or how you are doing or how I think learning the banjo would be really awesome . Let’s talk about shoes somewhere down the road, just as we would any hobby, right after you tell me about quilting. Shoes are a hobby… something I joyously wear and love shopping for, but my shoes are not me.
It reminds me of a Huffington Post article that Lindsay posted as a tagline months ago about how commenting on a girl’s appearance is “our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker”. I don’t want my shoes to be that. So, I buried my shoes for Lent, right alongside my alleluias.
I probably should mention I didn’t bury all of my shoes. I have several pair of black shoes out and ready for these next 40 days. They might get comments and compliments, but black seems appropriate for this season of solemnity and self-denial.
I’ll look forward to seeing my friends (is it awkward to call my shoes friends?) at Easter, but I’m okay with them being buried these next 40 days. It’ll be a good break from one another, a good reminder that I am so much more than a pair of shoes. I’ll let you know what I learn along the way.