I vaguely remember Madison telling me this one morning before school. But honestly, I didn't give it much thought. The school year was almost over. Her typical summertime footwear consisted of flip flops and softball cleats. Why buy new shoes at the end of the year?
So a couple of weeks ago I was packing for our trip to Colorado. I dug out Maddie’s shoes and gave them a quick glance, assessing their condition. Yep, they were worn, but they’d be okay. I tossed them in a suitcase and didn't see them again until the day we went for a long walk.
“Mom, my toes hurt. These shoes are tight and rocks keep poking me.”
“Surely they’re not that bad,” I said. Girls can be so dramatic. I leaned over for a closer look. And that’s when I realized her toes were squished and practically sticking out. That girl needed new shoes!
Speaking of pain - and walking in someone’s shoes, I've been thinking about that saying ever since I heard the sad news about Robin Williams last week.
“Don’t judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes.”
It’s good advice, but realistically, it's impossible. After all, we've all had different experiences. There's really no way to know exactly what someone else is going through.
Take Robin Williams, for example. On the outside, he looked great. He seemed happy. Confident. Successful. But on the inside, he battled the pain of addictions, depression and the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
When someone asks me, “How are you doing,” my quick and simple response is usually “fine.” But I remember one day when a friend asked me that question – and I decided to tell her the truth. I wasn't fine. My life looked good on the outside, but on the inside I was falling apart.
Maybe we can’t walk in someone else’s shoes, but if they're facing a difficult situation, we can certainly walk beside them.