As I comment from time to time , I am a firm believer that if people think I am referring to them, then they should act on that belief, presumably in a way that seeks to address whatever difficulties exist with me, or that allow for the recognition of encouragement and appreciation in case of positive references. Yesterday, when I was having a bit of a late lunch after hoofing back from the reenactment, one of the people I was chatting with wished to challenge my comment about wearing shoes if they fit us in a metaphorical sense. His comment was that he wore shoes that didn’t fit him, presumably because he felt that God would give him honor and positions or opportunities that he was not ready for. Yet the consistent record that we see when we read the scriptures is that people are prepared far in advance for the shoes that God asks them to wear. They may early recognize that they are talented and blessed, but there will be a lot of difficult times of suffering in obscurity before the opportunity comes that vindicates the early self-knowledge of the person whom God is blessing. This example we see particularly profoundly in the case of Joseph, who as a young man was privileged with symbolic dreams, but whose jealous brothers plotted to kill him and sold him for a paltry sum into slavery, where he then was imprisoned after being falsely accused for a crime that he resolutely and steadfastly, in the face of continual temptation, refused to commit, namely the sin of adultery. He remained in prison for years, forgotten by all except for his grieving father and God Himself. Eventually, when his character had been sufficiently refined, he was granted the opportunity to rule that he had been groomed for since his teenage years, and the shoes fit.
The power of this metaphor is present in fairy tales, most notably the story Cinderella. This is a well-known fairy tale, to be sure, but it is worth remembering the importance of the fitness of shoes to this tale. After all, the grand reveal that changes Cinderella’s destiny from that of an oppressed and bullied young woman with two brutal step-sisters takes place because her feet alone can fit the magic slipper that was left behind as she fled the ballroom. Metaphorically speaking, at least, she was uniquely prepared by virtue of her decency of character and goodness of heart to be a princess, despite the fact that she had spent quite a bit of time being treated no better than a drudge or a scullery maid or some kind of lowly house servant. Yet she was a princess inside, even if that could not be seen by her stepmother and her stepsisters. There is at least another aspect worthy of commenting on here, and that is the fact that many fairy tales contained fairly pointed lessons about the threats to happiness and well-being for young people, in ways that could be unpacked by careful hearers of these orally transmitted tales that were far darker before they received the Disney princess treatment. In this particular case, the dark lesson that is being taught is that in an age where death among women during childbirth was lamentably common, daughters would often fare badly from stepparents who were not related to them by blood. Like all rules, though, this one has its exceptions, as some people are able to love and care for children who are not their own, and some people struggle badly to show love and care for those children who are theirs. As is often the case, the truth is more complicated than a mere fairy tale.
In general, I am not a person who cares a great deal about shoes. This fact does not bother me, for as a guy, it is considered a good thing that I do not have a lot of shoes nor am I particularly interested in them. I happen to know a great many women, including my mother, who are fond of collecting large amounts of shoes in a bewildering variety of styles and colors, so as to perfectly match with a certain mood or item of clothing or purse or some other such accessory. Guys’ shoes are generally not this varied—we have a few basic styles, but nothing remotely to the level of women’s shoes. As it happens, yesterday evening, as I was writing a blog entry saved for a future day, I ended up chatting with one of the young relatives of my host, who was talking about how large a shoe collection her older sister has, and how much of that was being shipped out to her, as she is moving across the country this week to study at our denomination’s institution of religious learning, where I studied myself over ten years ago. Despite my own personal lack of interest in shoes, which is borne out by the fact that I have very few pairs of shoes, I am generally amused by the interests of others, and appreciate that having appropriate footwear makes women feel more beautiful, occasionally at the cost of making basic tasks like walking or picking up small children more difficult. So, it was amusing to listen to the stories of how one selects worthwhile shoes, and the range of colors and styles that people like to wear, the contexts in which they are worn, and so on.
Yet, while I generally like a small selection of flexible and hardy shoes that fit various contexts, in which I am currently deficient (namely, my ideal collection of shoes goes something like this: all shoes being black or brown, with one pair of church shoes, one pair of walking shoes, one pair that is appropriate for work, along with sandals, and maybe a pair of hiking shoes and/or Wellingtons, depending on the climate I am in). Even by such modest standards my current shoe collection is too small by a fair margin. That said, given that I tend to prefer shoes in colors that are flexible with almost anything I would wear, I focus my attention far more on the feel of the shoe. This is not due to any particular aesthetic intersts in shoes, but largely due to the fact that I have particularly tormented feet . As someone whose feet give frequent reminders of displeasure when there is insufficient protection of ankles or insufficient padding while walking, or when one stands for too long, it makes a great deal of difference to me to wear shoes that are comfortable enough to forget for at least a little while of the great suffering that feet can bring. I am not one to pamper my feet, or any other part of me, but at the very least I like my feet to be content, to at least be in such a situation that they do not have to bother me or remind me of their presence, or give me any trouble. Perhaps someday too, I will be fitted for the shoes, in a symbolic sense, that I have earned through my character and honor. Only time will tell about that, though. One only wants shoes that fit properly, especially if one’s feet have suffered as long and as severely as mine have, after all.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: