Above are the shoes I was wearing tonight as I set up my equipment at All Saints Lutheran Church in Tamarac, Florida. (All Saints Lutheran–you really have to admire a church that makes sure it doesn’t offend any divine possibilities.)
I took a picture of my shoes because they are a symbol of what I do. I travel. Perhaps many people would find that difficult, boring or even impossible to achieve, but the challenge I receive in journeying across this country enables me to put into practice a precious principle. For you see–I’m always starting over.
I can finish up sharing at one venue and make great friends, receive hugs and an occasional kiss on the cheek, but as soon as I climb back into my van and turn out of that parking lot, my next destination has absolutely no idea of the magnitude of the affection just extended my way–or, for that matter, how much I treasured the folks I encountered.
Each time I stop off, my shoes join me in being a stranger. My philosophy of life is constantly being tested, because rather than being continually surrounded by patrons, family, friends and beloved well-wishers, I am usually in the presence of cautious and even suspicious individuals, who are trying to figure out who I am simply by eyeballing the cut of my jib.
So if I don’t know who I am, I certainly will not be able to convince anybody why they should care. I will tell you right now that a good percentage of the problems in this country are due to the fact that we are all encouraged to have an overblown assessment of ourselves and our abilities, which, when put to the test, come up short, making us look like we’ve been freshly smacked in the kisser with a coconut cream pie. There is power in knowing who you are. There is also a great blessing in my life of having that identity continually questioned, so that in the process of reestablishing daily the factual nature of my true character, I also can bring glory to God by every once in a while sprouting a good work or two.
After I establish who I am, I am then given the gift of sharing why I am. Once I share why I am, I can answer the question that fills the heart of every human being. Why should I care?
If we all walk around this planet expecting props for the magnificent manner with which we breathe, we will eventually destroy one another because we feel offended by the lack of appreciation for our yet-undisclosed abilities.
I like starting over. It adds muscle, credence and intelligence to what I believe and teach. It means that my talent can win over my looks. It confirms that having heart is not a lost art in a society that boasts its indifference.
I will put on my shoes in the morning and go out to meet more people who don’t know anything about me except the propaganda written on a piece of paper, which many of them will never read and the rest rarely believe. If I don’t have a gift out of my soul to carefully place into their souls, I am of little use.
So tonight I will do three things: (1) clean out the basement of my emotions of all unnecessary and unwarranted ego; (2) think about funny things so I’m ready to be of good cheer in the atmosphere of what could be sour dispositions; and (3) spend some time with my heavenly Father, feeling valued–just in case His human creation forgets to grant me that courtesy.
I can recommend starting over. Otherwise you live under the delusion that everybody around you is madly in love with you and thinks you’re the coolest person on earth. They really don’t. They’re just trying to do the best they can and would certainly welcome any overture on your part to make their lives easier.
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