Today I went to see an orthopedist as I was having ankle pain. Apparently I pronate, have chronic shin splints and maybe anterior impingement syndrome. In other words I need orthopedic shoes. The doctor asked if I wanted to start with over-the-counter orthotics (i.e. shoe inserts) or go straight for the prescription. Let’s see, shoe inserts or grandma shoes, inserts or grandma shoes ...hmmmm, tough decision but I went with inserts; mainly because I didn’t have an accompanying matriarchal wardrobe. I may be into knitting, sewing and baking but I’m not into knee high pantyhose (sorry Grandma)!
And speaking of geriatric. I also have bunions. Bunions! My big toes have always pointed in giving me trademark overlapping toes. But what I didn’t realize is this condition has a name; a technical scientific name - bunions! Oh sweetie my bunions are killing me; how perfectly elderly. For now I’ll stick with overlapping toes.
I left the orthopod in search of Superfeet. To the tune of forty-dollars I now own a lovely set of berry-colored insoles which will move from shoe to shoe. They sure beat the alternative.
I am also supposed to wear shoes with a raised heel. Not high heels mind you - those aren’t good for my toes - but shoes with a thick raised heel. I own a pair of those shoes - my danskos. But my danskos are broken and I wasn’t ready to spend another hundred dollars.
So I went to a local shoe repair shop. Surprisingly there was a line. Classical music was playing in the background, dusty shoe molds were hanging on the wall and an ancient sewing machine was whirling in the background. The place reminded me of a creepy old music shop. Don’t be silly I told myself as I studied the line of shoes that had been repaired. Slowly I began to puff up, chest out and shoulders high. In our disposable society it was great to see folks restoring footwear. I was a member of this group. I didn’t care if the place was creepy - I was proud to be there waiting in line. After ten minutes the repair man came out with a restored purse. He stared at me and said harshly, “I’m not accepting new customers. I’m booked through November.”
“Oh,” I said meekly and to my surprise my eyes teared up. My bubble had burst. I’d been denied access to an exclusive club. I couldn’t wear the golden slipper (or ailing dansko). I was unworthy. Those people, they were the chosen ones. I was not.
Shoulders schlumped and shoes held tightly against my chest I turned and left. I had planned a celebratory trip to the health food store but couldn’t bear it. I wanted to be alone. Then I remembered - I’d seen a new shoe repair shop just off the parkway - New Beginnings Shoe Repair.
I found it easily, parked then hesitated. What if I was denied again? They’re just shoes I told my hormonal self as I sucked in a deep breath and went through the door. A bell rang and a machine stopped. This place was clean, dust-free. A kindly gentleman came to the counter. Yes, he said, my shoes could be repaired. And he could polish them too. I exhaled remembering to breathe. My shoes could be fixed. They’d look brand new and be done tomorrow. Sweet relief. I didn’t need the nasty shoe guy who probably lived at the Bates Motel. I was accepted. I was part of the club. My shoes and my life will be given New Beginnings.
Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness . . . . sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it as though a voice were saying: “You are accepted.”
--Paul Johannes Tillich
Not that I'm in great pain - I'm simply hormonal and found that quote fitting; kinda like my new old shoes.
As I finished writing this New Beginnings Shoe Repair called - my danskos are finished - today! I’m going to pick them up now.
I hope today each and every one of you feels acceptance today. Here's to New Beginnings!