Shoes from America

I remember vividly anticipating the arrival of a package from America, which was to contain five pairs of shoes for me! In those days in Tanganyika shoes were not readily available and I was growing faster than my parents could keep me in shoes. We were always required to wear shoes because of jiggers, which were prevalent in the dirt. These little bugs would “get under your skin” literally and lay their eggs inside your toes and feet! It was a major chore to dig them out and sometimes infection followed. Shoes were an absolute necessity for our protection and health.

Finally the day arrived when my new shoes arrived after taking nearly three to months to come by ship from the Sears and Roebucks store. With great eagerness and enthusiasm I quickly tore the box open. Immediately my eyes were drawn to a pair of shiny black beautiful sandals. Like Cinderella’s sisters, I pushed and pulled and tried my best to squeeze my growing foot into these beautiful shoes but to no avail. I tried another pair. To my despair, they were ALL too small! After unsuccessfully pushing and prodding in vain, I was forced to give all my new beautiful patent leather shoes to my younger sister. This was such a sad day for me as my great anticipation for new shoes ended in deep disappointment.

I don’t recall what my parents did to provide me with shoes. Perhaps they found a fundi shoemaker at the Indian shops to make me some shoes.

When I think back on that experience with disappointment, I realize how many times we try to find our satisfaction in new things. Only later do we realize that ‘things’ don’t really matter after all. What’s really important is our relationships with others and especially with our Heavenly Father.

In the end, my too-small shoes made the day for my younger sister Marlowe who received five new pairs of shoes instead of her usual hand-me-downs.