As I got dressed, in shades of brown and rust, I eyeballed the inside of my closet to find a matching pair of shoes. “Ah,” I thought to myself, as I spied a pair of brown clogs, “I haven’t worn these in about a year. They fit the bill—brown and comfortable and they go with my outfit.”
I quickly slipped them on and ran out the door to my car, lookin’ good and ready to start my day.
Upon arriving at school, I step out of the car and into a bank of snow. I noticed my socks growing damp. “Clogs,” I thought, “I must have stepped into the snow by my heel.”
Walking into the building I noticed a bit of cold air on my toes and as I peeked down I saw that the threads on the right side of my right foot were giving way. Frustrated, I raced into the school, needing to set up for meetings that I would have with teachers and a lesson I was going to model that morning. I wondered if my shoe would make it till day’s end and decided that it would just have to make it.
My “to do” list drove my actions for the morning. Visit the fifth grade teachers and ask for the list of paired texts we discussed the day before. Visit the first grade teacher for whom I was modeling a lesson to finalize what would be taught during writers’ workshop. Copy packets for kindergarten and first grade teachers. I was driven by time and multiple items that needed to happen for my day to run smoothly. Walking briskly to the fifth grade wing, I began to hear a metal clicking noise under my shoe. “What is up with this shoe?” I wondered. “I have no time for this annoyance.”
As I went the stairs, a metal piece fell off of the shoe. “This is crazy! This shoe was perfectly fine when I put it on.”
I walked into the fifth grade room and talked to the teacher about the texts and then I told the teacher about my shoe, in a kidding, standing at the water fountain kind of way. We both looked down and we noticed a trail of small pieces of rubber marking my trail, like Hansel and Gretel setting off to create a path home. My shoe was literally disintegrating. Two more steps and the entire heel came off. Three more steps and it became obvious that not only was it my right shoe, but it was also my left shoe. Two shoes—perfectly together only an hour before in the comfort of my home, disintegrating with every step I took in the school where I was a consultant for the day. These shoes aren’t gonna get me through this day!
Teachers, of course, howling at my dilemma, and helpful as always, found an extra pair of shoes for me to wear for the day (brown shoes to bat!). Laughing with them, I accepted their gift, took my crumbling shoes out to my car (they will be sent back to the manufacturer—but that is another story), and continued with my day, with a smile on my face and warm shoes on my feet.
As I walked through the building later that morning, I noticed my trail—small pieces of rubber that my shoes let go, marking where I had been during the rush of my morning preparation. We are all on a journey. Sometimes we see the trail, sometimes the trail is marked, sometimes the trail is hazy, and sometimes the trail is thick with fog. Today I was on a marked trail part of my journey. I knew where I was going and I was allowing others to see the way. I was reminded that morning that things don’t always go quite right. But things always seem to work out. Walking the journey with humor and wisdom makes it meaningful. Finding the stories that delight makes it fun.