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Mile Walk

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February 2018

Ah, @#&=%*+%$*!! That’s what it probably took. When God created Adam and Eve, He didn’t create footgear. Genesis says nothing about sandals. That stuff came along after the two got “booted” out of the Garden and had to walk hard rocky grounds for the first time in their lives. Kinda hurts. Maybe their first shoes were fig leaves, which they had already figured out make for good covering. Whatever, shoes are likely one of the first byproducts of sin.

Sinners that we are, we still need shoes.   As was true for our ancestors, they make it much easier and safer to get from point A to point B. But unlike most of our ancestors, we don’t just own one pair. We have footwear to cover every situation. Flip-flops for those hot days. Boots for those cold days. Capped leather shoes for business meetings. Soft fabric shoes for casual times. A coordinating pair of shoes for every dress. Athletic shoes for every sport. Hiking shoes, walking shoes, tennis shoes, gym shoes, you-name-it shoes. There are shoes of every style and for every taste.

We take our shoes very personally. They belong to us, not to someone else. We wouldn’t be caught dead wearing another person’s shoes. For one, they wouldn’t fit; for another, they’d likely stink. And the reverse is just as true. We allow no one to wear our shoes. We just wouldn’t tolerate someone stretching them out, scuffing up the shine, and stinking up the inside. Who know, maybe they have athlete’s feet? No sir, you wear your shoes, I’ll wear mine.

And that’s how we live. Perhaps the most extreme example is former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos. She claimed to have owned 1,060 pairs of shoes, and very expensive ones at that. Her family held around $10 billion in assets. She once spent $2,000 buying chewing gum. She ordered a pilot to turn around a plane because she forgot to buy cheese in Rome. When she was forced to take exile, she left behind 15 mink coats, over 500 gowns, and 1,000 handbags—not to mention the shoes. But she also left her fellow countrymen in neglect and poverty. By focusing on herself, she didn’t see the great needs of others all around her.

In the late ’60s, singer-songwriter Joe South wrote about something plaguing us—our unwillingness empathize with the struggles of other people:

            If I could be you, if you could be me for just one hour
If we could find a way to get inside each other’s mind,

            If you could see you through my eyes instead of your ego,
I believe you’d be, I believe you’d be surprised to see that you’ve been blind.

            Now there are people on reservations and out in the ghetto
And, brother, there, but for the grace of God go you and I,

            If I only had the wings of a little angel
Don’t you know I’d fly to the top of a mountain and then I’d cry, cry, cry?

            Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes,
Yeah, before you abuse, criticize, and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.

We too often forget that we are not on this earth by ourselves. We walk the planet with others, but as we focus on our own little worlds, we lose sight of them. Like a pair of shoes, their problems are theirs, not ours. And so we don’t even want to come close to trying on their shoes—understanding their suffering, and working to end it. The problem is no better evident than in how we deal with legal abortion. We have just passed the most ghastly statistic in our county’s history: over 60 million unborn babies legally killed. Yet for too many people, it’s just a statistic; for many more, it’s not even that. We don’t see the unborn, nor do we see anyone connected with the abortion experience. All too often, we don’t care to see.

We are now so close to Lent that we can almost touch it. It’s a time for more intently focusing on the life of Jesus, and more intently focusing on what He did for us. He walked on hard rocky ground up a hill and allowed Himself to be mounted to a cross, the Cross of our salvation. We are called to remember His walk and to join it all the way to the end. But how can we walk in His shoes when He’s not physically with us?

By walking in the shoes of His children. Each day, we can spend time identifying with the needs of everyone affected by the tragedy of abortion. We can walk with the voiceless, sightless, defenseless unborn. Scientists tell us that they can feel the pain of being dismembered, crushed, and burned. Their lives cruelly ended, they are flushed down toilets, dumped in landfills, or sold for parts.

We can walk daily with the mothers and fathers. Faced with unplanned pregnancies, they freeze, often unable to think beyond their fears. Isolated from everyone who could possibly help, they turn to the waiting mouths of predators all too eager to prey on their wallets. And when the predators are through with them, they, too, get spit out—just like their babies.

We can walk daily with grandparents who’ve lost grandchildren, friends who’ve lost friends, lovers who’ve lost lovers. Abortion destroys all kinds of relationships, and the pain can be intense. And we can even walk in prayer with all those people who for various reasons have just lost sight of the right path. They need our help in finding it.

This Lent, we can walk a mile in their shoes. We owe it to Christ, and we owe it to them. After all, but for the grace of God, there go you and I.

 

Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.

©  Paul V. Esposito 2018. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Visit us at http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/ and on Facebook.

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