Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Let's talk shoes. And no, I don't mean these shiny, glitzed-up, deck shoes, though they are very, um, interesting to say the least.

The shoes I'm talking can be dressy or casual, for men or women, for children who have the rest of their lives ahead of them or for some down-trodden folks who feel like their lives might not be worth living at all.

I'm talking about shoes given because of a dream. And in my particular case, I'm talking about very comfy black L.L. Bean mocs that were given to me for our upcoming trip overseas.

I love Facebook. It is one of my favorite resources for information. For that reason, when we found out that we were having a long lay-over in Paris on our way to Swaziland, I posted a status asking for input on comfy shoes to wear. I needed something that I could wear on the plane, slip off and on easily for security, could handle the winter streets of France, and still be used for our two weeks in Swaziland. One friend recommended the L.L. Bean crocs. I thanked her and expressed gratitude for all the others suggestions. I also mentioned at some point that I'd probably just have to make due with what I already owned because money was really tight and I just couldn't afford new shoes at this point.

After reading that, my friend of over two decades, sent me a private message saying she wanted to give me a pair and then later, told me why.

She wasn't just giving me the shoes because she was my friend. She was giving me the shoes for a very special reason. Here is her story:

"About 17 or 18 years ago, a friend of mine from high school, our graduating class' valedictorian, committed suicide. He was bipolar and had stopped taking his medicine after his fiancee broke off their engagement and became so depressed, he ended his life.

Over the years I've had many dreams about him. In one, he had grown a beard and was homeless, of all things. He was sitting on the ground leaning on the outside of our house and I saw him when I was coming home from work. He declined an invitation to come inside (it was cold) even with multiple pleas from both [my husband] and me. Then I noticed he was barefoot and I said to him that if he wouldn't come inside would he accept a pair of shoes and some food to take with him and he said he didn't want to be any more trouble, but just needed to rest. I went inside and got a pair of shoes [my husband] didn't wear very much and some socks. [My husband] made him some soup and put it in a thermos we used for travel and we went outside to give the supplies to him.

My friend asked me to promise that I'd give shoes to those that need them, even if they are the ones off my own feet, and I promised him that I would. I always donate shoes, sometimes even brand new ones that I find on sale. My friend was very spiritually religious and in the letter he left when he exited this life, he said he "would run across the River Jordan to greet everyone as we made our journey at the end of our lives".

There is no closure to losing a friend by suicide, only acceptance. This is my way of doing that. I bought your shoes for your spiritual journey because of a promise to a dead friend in a dream. In doing so, I honor his life and your path forward.

Hugs and love to you!! I will worry about you when you go to Africa because of the instability there, but if that is your path and the path for your children, I will do whatever I can to help you.

Let me know when you get them and I hope they fit like a glove!!!"

All of us have something we can give. Most of us want to do something to make a difference in this world but we don't always know what.

My friend had a dream that I believe was a gift from God. She is following that dream every time she blesses someone with a pair of shoes.

Some of you have allowed the circumstances, hurts, and struggles of this world to convince you that dreams are just that --- dreams. Some of you at one point thought you'd heal broken bodies, teach those walking in the darkness of ignorance, bring joyous smiles through your talents, or help solve problems that keep too many impoverished. Your dreams were amazing. They were so big and crazy fabulous.

Some of those dreams might have been just passing daydreams. I dreamed of being a fashion journalist for a New York magazine.

But some of those dreams are straight from the heart of God. The kind of dreams that bring love and light to this world are dreams that don't need to be forgotten.

What are the dreams telling you?

I dreamed for years of Africa and my beloved Swaziland. I dreamed of making a difference in the lives of precious orphans and vulnerable children. Now that dream is coming true. In January, I'll be making one more big step toward the dream of living once again in Africa. And as I wear these simple, black mocs, I'll think of the woman who gave them to me and her friend, who in a dream, told her to give shoes to those who need them. I'll walk and dance with a bit more spring in my step and smile even brighter as I remember that her dream is making my dream-come-true just a little bit easier.

But you know what? It is more than just the shoes. It is the love and support behind the shoes. And that kind of love and support makes the attainment and living out of the dream a whole lot easier.


Leslie said...

Beautiful story friend!!! I love the idea of following a dream and blessing others in the process.

Hugs to you!

Drewe Llyn said...

What a wonderful story and blessing!! Brought tears to my eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Elysa said...

Thanks y'all! I was already blessed by the shoes, but when she told me the story behind the shoes, I was doubly, no triply, blessed!

Happy Thanksgiving and BIG HUGS to both of you dear friends,