Usually it's a dirty sneaker. Or a chewed-up work boot. You typically see the gently-used footwear as you're driving along, rocking out to an old American Idol. How do they get there, anyway? (The shoes - not the American Idols. I know how they get there.) Surely all these shoes don't just fall out of cars. And surely there aren't so many hit-and-runs that our American streets are littered with the former shoes of our hit-and-run fallen. And surely Dr. Phil isn't advising that couples work through aggression by taking off their shoes and beating each other while operating motor vehicles. Although...
No seriously - I saw one today. Only it wasn't an old basketball sneaker or a muddy work boot. It was a pink stiletto heel. Like maybe a Jimmy Choo or something. Had it had a twin, I would have stopped to check and make sure they weren't 7 1/2. (I mean, we stop and rescue kittens, so it's only fair that a Good Samaritan would occasionally happen upon pink 7 1/2 Jimmy Choos that needed a good home, too.)
Of course, the shoe made me think. First, I thought about the pretty, lonely, single shoe and the journey that likely brought it to its resting place on Maple Avenue. I wondered if it was distressed over being tossed - about someone not appreciating it or its usefulness. I wondered if it played the Lauren Graham line over and over in its little shoe head ... you know... "It's all any of us want - to find a nice person to hang out with until we drop dead". I wondered if it stressed over finding its mate.
Then I wondered if it felt like it wasn't beautiful - now that it was discarded and all. Surely we all could sympathize. I've been reading a book lately called Captivating by Stasi Eldredge. She writes, "Sometimes between the dreams of your youth and yesterday, something precious has been lost. And that treasure is your heart, your priceless feminine heart. God has set within you a femininity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring. No doubt it has been misunderstood. Surely it has been assaulted. But it is there.... Every woman has a beauty to unveil. Every woman. Because she bears the image of God. Beauty is an essence that is given to every woman at her creation."
It's not just the pretty shoe. I think it's us, too. We have days we feel discarded. Passed-over. Left for dead. Stressed over not having a mate. Under-valued. Ugly.
It helps - helps me, anyway - to remember. Remember that God's very essence is beauty. That we, as women, bear the very image of God. That we - the discarded, lonely pretty pink heels - are beautiful. Not because we're part of a pair. Not because we're flawless. Not because we haven't been thrown out... or tossed aside... or traded in. But simply because. We just are. You are. You are beautiful because every one of us was made that way. Like the shoe.
And yes, if you're wondering, I checked. The pretty pink shoe didn't have a mate nearby. But it was, mysteriously, gone the next time I drove by.