I wore mismatched shoes to the Doctor today.
It’s taken us a year with the COVID backup and restrictions to establish a base doctor in our new town. I finally had my first visit after months of waiting. I’d done the rigamarole, you know, filling out a million forms, listing all the gross details of my life. Numbering aches and pains. Hospital stays. Babies born.
All in all my forms are pretty bland. Until I get to the history.
“Hmmm,” my new doctor, (who is as young as my granddaughter), said. “There is quite a bit of dementia in your family history.”
Well, yes that is an understatement. It runs a thick cord through generations.
Throughout this conversation, I sat on her examining table with mismatched shoes on my feet. She made me breathe deeply, measured my blood pressure, checked a few skin moles, and thumped me a bit. She walked back and forth around where my feet swung with their mismatched shoes.
She never said anything about putting on two entirely different shoes to go to my first doctor’s visit with her. She probably didn’t notice. Maybe. I hope not.
I saw them afterwards. Out shopping, I stared down thinking about something else entirely, and suddenly those shoes came into focus. As did all the places I’d been with them on my feet that day.
My husband took a picture and sent it to the family.
Thanks a lot.
A few years ago my brother visited after several years of us not having seen one another. He’s the big brother, I’m the little squirt sister. Please don’t comment on that.
The first thing I noticed wasn’t how much he’d aged, but rather his socks didn’t match.
Being the ever concerned little squirt sister I am, I brought them to his immediate attention.
Good-naturedly he laughed almost till he cried, in that order I think.
“I knew you’d see that,” he said. “I ran out of socks traveling. I was hoping you’d miss it.”
I now see the casual bringing up of mismatching can be a slight bit unnerving. Especially if one is unaware.
I remember immediately feeling remorse that my brother should even hesitate about wearing mismatched socks because of me, or that he would expect criticism from me. His laughter and grace, on the other hand, was exactly the response I expected from him, which encouraged my without-thought-or-hesitation comment. Because I knew he loved me. Because he knows I love him.
“…you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off’; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10 ESV
Israel, God’s chosen and loved possession so often lived as incongruously with God’s commands as a pair of mismatched shoes. Yet, how steadfast and loving the Father remained toward them.
My discordant outward attire reminded me to look within. Is my heart paired in harmony with my God? Are my thoughts and actions mismatched with His? Does my life match up with Christ’s claim on me?
As I head into the “best is yet to come” years, I have no idea what to expect. I know I will look a bit more carefully into my closet, both the real and figurative ones, and choose with care.
But for now, the laughter of family has died down. It’s too complicated to find another doctor, so I will face her again some day, hopefully with two shoes the same. And in the end, I’m glad a mismatched pair of shoes can remind me of greater truths.
“I have chosen you and not cast you off.”
“Fear not, for I am with you.”
“be not dismayed, for I am your God.”
“I will strengthen you.”
“I will help you.”
“I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
*photos by Philip and Sylvia Schroeder
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