walking shoes

The other day, Austin and I went hiking. While we were just beginning our walk, Austin said, “Oh I forgot my boots. Do you know where my boots are?” He has a great pair of hiking boots that he got for a trip that he took to Alaska a few summers back.Since he is away at college most of the time, he wasn’t quite sure where in our house they were. (To be honest, I’m not quite sure either.) But I was sure we’d find them. At that point, I looked down at his shoes.Nope, these shoes weren’t made for hiking, but they sure have crossed some major ground.

He got these shoes for Christmas last year. On a whim, my husband had gotten all of our kids a pair of shoes. He had done great in choosing shoes that were perfect for each one! Fashionable boots for my daughter, athletic shoes for 2 sons, work boots for other sons, and for Austin, this pair of shoes. They seemed perfect for his upcoming semester abroad.

Since that time, Austin’s shoes have walked countless miles. They have walked the narrow streets of Italy, the sandy beaches of Dubai, the streets of Istanbul, and the neighborhoods of Cyprus. They have traveled in subways, on pathways, and to elite restaurants and offices in New York City.These shoes have paced sidewalks in Atlanta, churches in North Carolina and the Via de La Rosa in Israel.They stood outside of the Vatican while the world awaited the announcement of the new Pope. They have been propped up on bleachers at baseball games, and paced airports in London, Chicago, New York, and Dubai. They have traveled places where I have only dreamed of being. And they have been at home.

So here’s the thing. I love how the ordinary meets the extraordinary. No matter how exotic or elite or extraordinary the venture, there are constants that do not change. Like shoes,or daily tasks, or a cup of coffee, these ordinary constants are like familiar friends that remind us of where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and who we’ve walked alongside. No matter where you travel in the world, there are some constants that break through all of the mystique and just speak to the beautiful simplicity of humanity. Night sky views and beautiful sunrises inspire people in little towns in North Carolina in the same way that they speak to people on the other side of the world. A cup of coffee is an international comfort that spans the globe. And a good pair of well worn shoes can make all the difference in a day. There are basic human needs no matter where you travel, constants that connect us.

I may never travel the world, but I’m so thankful that there have been many times when I’ve been able to walk alongside those who have. The beauty of it is, the more I hear, the more it seems that no matter where you travel, some things are so very much the same. The beauty of the ordinary is a constant. Those same shoes that stood on the sands of Dubai, walked alongside me on Crowder Mountain. The main constant is not the shoes, or the sunset, or the cup of coffee, it’s the one who fills the shoes, sees the sunset, or drinks it all in. The main constant is, the value is in the people, not the stuff. The value, the beauty, the constant, is in the ones who fill the shoes. Love that.