If Our Shoes Had Mouths, What Stories Would They Tell?
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Politics and Activism

If Our Shoes Had Mouths, What Stories Would They Tell?

This is more than a smelly foot rant.

If Our Shoes Had Mouths, What Stories Would They Tell?
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I have plenty of shoes, but I can confidently declare that none of them have mouths. They have “soles,” where the rubber hits the road, but no mouths. They have “eyelets" where the shoelaces run through, but no mouths. However, let us suppose the “tongues” of our shoes gave them the capability and courage to speak. What would they say?

I can confidently answer that after my shoes finished a long rant about how smelly my feet are, they would share stories that many have never heard. They would explain the stories behind each of their “scuff marks” that I had caused, each of those “scuff marks” shaping who I am today.

There is a man that stands in line at a fast-food restaurant. He wears an elegant suit; like the ones you see in the magazines that make you gasp when you glance at the price. His hair is slicked back with gel, similar to the Godfather in the 1972 release. Shouldn’t this man be fine dining elsewhere where every meal is over $20? Maybe conclusions are made that this man was born into his wealth, where money was never a matter of consideration. Maybe that he grew up with an infinite amount of choices. However, his dress shoes begged to differ. They may mention that their owner puts up a great front. They may explain that this man is actually experiencing great poverty. Under his nice suit, this man is financially suffering without a dollar to his name. He bares the weight of only three soup cans left in his cabinet that must last him through the rest of the week. His clothes are being washed with the minimum amount of detergent and are being hung to dry to save money. This man dressed himself in the dark this morning because his electricity was shut off. He is striving to make ends meet, but instead they seem to repel.

There is a homeless women sitting against a store window. She wears a face of discontent as she glances at her dirty feet. It looks as though all her belongings are laid in a small shopping cart. Passing strangers may look at her with pity, while others may cast glares of disappointment. Words such as "lazy" may be assumed about this woman daily. Questions about drugs and alcohol too often prevent bystanders from sharing assistance with this woman. Yet, her flip flops would report a tragic story of a fire that burnt down her home a few years back. Her daughter would have turned three this month, if she would have made it out of the burning house. The women will never forgive herself for the loss of her child. She is undergoing excruciating pain that cannot be seen or understood from the outside.

There is a man with a long, scruffy beard. He has scares stretched across his face and arms. He seems to emit a presence of fatigue. People may wonder gang fight? Bar fight? Domestic violence? But again, his boots would argue with these assumptions. His boots would disclose a story of victory, sadness, and sacrifice. They would reveal a war story of a man who made the ultimate sacrifice and fought for our great country. He has marched alongside the other troops in Afghanistan. He has sat for weeks in the numbing winter weather and endured the scorching summers. He had to watch the life flicker in and out of his best friends’ eyes as their souls departed from the earth. He wears his physical scars with honor, but the war has left him with other scars. It left him with a longing for a life without war. He wishes to numb the pain, but he cannot erase the gruesome memories from his mind.

I am convinced that our shoes would vouch for that old saying that reads something like, “do not judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” I believe that too often we fall into this entitlement towards our own perceptions of others without taking into account their experiences. However, our shoes would be quick to open their mouths and share that we are unable to understand someone’s experience when we have not traveled their journey. While others may tell stories of contentment, prosperity, elation, peace, and accomplishment, our shoes may tell stories of hardship, heartbreak, oppression, suffering, and misfortune.

Maybe these stories would have a mixture of some or all of these themes, but more importantly, we realize that it is not our place to cast judgment because we are incapable of completely understanding someone’s background. We are able to be sympathetic to other’s “scuff marks” because of loving and caring characteristics. But we are not able to empathize with other’s “scuff marks” until we have attained our own “scuff marks.” I our shoes had mouths, we would learn that it is not about being slow to judge, but it is about not being judgmental. It is about appreciating and respecting the differences in our journeys. It is about realizing everyone is fighting a battle or has fought a battle that we are unaware of. It is about sharing love and compassion with others rather than hate.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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