Spiritual lessons we can learn from shoes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 17, 2019

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Imelda Marcos will always be remembered for the 3000 pairs of shoes she collected while her husband, Ferdinand, ruled as dictator of the Philippines.  “I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty,” 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 1220 pairs of shoes in the presidential palace.

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

I once 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 6000 pairs of heels designed by Christian Louboutin.  The article told how the 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’ve read that before the 19th century, shoes and boots were made to be worn on either foot.  When shoes are made specifically for the left and right feet, it becomes uncomfortable to put the shoe on the wrong foot. When the shoe is on the other foot, it should make us uncomfortable. 

Theologian Charles Spurgeon once said, “ A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  If a person is anxious or worried, he or she may be “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”  When a talented individual resigns from a job, it’s sometimes said, “They left big shoes to fill.”

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.