Spiritual lessons to be learned from sole collection

Published 12:02 am Saturday, August 20, 2011

Imelda Marcos will always be remembered for the 3,000 pairs of shoes she collected while her husband, Ferdinand, ruled as dictator of the Philippines. “I did not have 3,000 pairs of shoes, I had 1,060,” she once claimed.

The people of her country, most of them living in poverty, found out about her famous, or rather infamous, shoe collection when opposition forces overthrew the Marcos regime in 1986. When Imelda and her husband fled to Hawaii, she reportedly left behind 1,220 pairs of shoes in the presidential palace.

Some 800 pairs from her collection are displayed at the Marikina Shoe Museum near Man-ila. Mari-kina is the capital of the Philippine shoe industry. Ime-lda’s collection included shoes made by designers such as Gucci, Chanel and Christian Dior

I recently read about someone with twice the number of shoes Marcos owned. The London Daily Mail has published an article stating that best-selling novelist Danielle Steele owns 6,000 pairs of heels designed by Christian Louboutin.  The article told how the 46-year-old author flies from New York to Paris and purchases 80 pairs of shoes each time.

After researching various sources, I’ve learned that on average a woman owns between 20 and 30 pairs of shoes, while a man owns four to six pair.  I wonder if that includes flip-flops.

Have you ever considered how shoes, or even the phrases about shoes, can teach us spiritual lessons about criticizing others? For instance, there’s the saying that “you really never know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” According to the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings that means, “Don’t criticize another person’s work until you’ve tried to do it yourself; don’t judge another person’s life until you’ve been forced to live it.”

When “the shoe is on the other foot,” you’re experiencing a particular situation from the other person’s point of view. Interestingly enough, I read that before the 19th century, shoes and boots were made to be worn on either foot. When shoes were made specifically for the left and right feet, it would be uncomfortable to put the shoe on the wrong foot.

When the shoe is on the other foot, it should make us uncomfortable. The friend who may walk by and not speak to us might be absentminded or may have just found out some bad news.  Oswald Chambers once said, “There is always one fact more in every man’s case about which we know nothing.”

Jesus tells us, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven,” for you will be measured the same way you measure others (Luke 6:37).

It’s the tongue that often causes a person to put their foot in their mouth and makes one feel like a heel.  Whatever you dislike in another person, be sure to correct in yourself. In other words, if the shoe fits, you should wear it.