The Flower and the Flip-Flop

“to repair the damages”

2 Kings 12:5

When my daughter was about seven years old, we were walking through the parking lot to church when her shoe broke.  It was just a flip-flop, so it wasn’t exactly expensive, and it had been handed down to her, so it had already faithfully served one owner.  So all it took was me stepping on her heel, and her foot kept going and tore the rubber right in half. 

Well, for a second we didn’t know what to do, but we were in the parking lot so I said, “Let’s just get in the building and then I’ll figure out what to do.”  But it was hard for her to walk, and she felt uncomfortable and silly, and she started crying.

I managed to get her into the lobby of the building, and while there were people milling everywhere, the person I saw immediately was the pastor’s wife.  I went up to her and explained the problem and asked if they had any duct tape or something to fix the shoe.   Now, I had never met her ~ it was a fairly big church and we were somewhat new ~ but she smiled and took the shoe and went into the office to see what she could find to fix it. 

In the meantime, the Apple of my Eye took our son to his class, and my daughter’s class had started the worship portion of their class, so I took her in to join them.  Then I went back in to the office to see if the pastor’s wife had found a solution.  When I got to the doorway and looked in, I saw three women bent over the shoe, concentrating and discussion options like they were performing surgery!  They had already stapled it, and they were tearing fabric tape to wrap around it to make it more secure.  I stepped in and tried to assure them that I didn’t want them to go to too much trouble, but they had taken this project on with a vengeance.

After they taped it and felt confident it was secure, they took it one step further ~ so to speak.  The pastor’s wife looked around the room a little bit, and then saw what she wanted.  And a minute later, when she handed the shoe back to me, she had a sweet smile on her face.  And what I saw was that it was not enough that they had fixed the shoe to get my daughter through church.  Nor was it enough that they had fixed it so securely that they’d given it new life.  But in addition to that, they had added a little touch of beauty.  They had taped a small silk flower over their repair work.  These women had been thinking not just of my daughter’s comfort, but of her feelings.  They were imagining a little girl feeling self-conscious and shy, and they made the shoe pretty, too.

 

Years later, she's perfectly fine wearing shoes that are falling apart...

Years later, she’s perfectly fine wearing shoes that are falling apart…

 

It was unnecessary.  Above and beyond the call of duty.  It made me think of when Jesus said, “If someone asks for your coat, give him your shirt as well.”  And of the Good Samaritan, who didn’t just bandage the injured man’s wounds and escort him to the inn, but gave the innkeeper money to care for him.  And of Luke 14:14, “you will be blessed because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

No, I could not repay her for her thoughtfulness.  The chances of my pastor’s wife ever coming to me needing my help with a broken shoe are slim indeed. 

But, of course, I could look for the chance to help others.  I could ~ and can ~ use the example to show my daughter how Jesus wants us to be.  I can ~ and do ~ hang on to the lesson that God gave me that morning, about how the smallest deed, if it’s done with love, can touch someone’s heart.

It was many years ago, but I still think about that flower.  It’s a reminder to me of how we can bless others, and I thank God for the privilege we have of doing so.

 

~ “She opens her mouth with wisdom,

And on her tongue is the law of kindness” ~

Proverbs 31:26

~

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