worn boots and broken hearts (a heavy-handed addiction allegory)

November 11, 2013

they weren’t looking for him…
he was just there.
suddenly and mostly alone.
his boots untied, tattered and scuffed
no straps to speak of;
laces frayed and trailing (a definite tripping hazard),
but he had somehow managed to get them on the right feet
in spite of his life being almost void of helpful instruction –
here he was, standing in those boots.

thus they saw him awkwardly trying to walk on his own.

they came to him and took his hands.
they told him “we are here to help;
we know you weren’t looking for us, but here we are”.
they welcomed him.
looked into his eyes and said
“hold these while we help you with your boots”.
they put their hearts in his hands
got down on their knees and set about trying to teach him
some basic boot maintenance:
how to tie laces,
how to polish the bit of boots he’d been given
and even to acquire a bit more leather
in order to mend the holes
and maybe create a bit of strap he could get hold of.

they brought others into his life
with open arms and goodness
and together, with him, they set about seeing what they could do
to rebuild the worn down souls at the bottom of those boots.
the first thing he wanted to do as he took those tentative early steps
was to help others – those with even less boot than himself,
and to accept all.
no matter the condition of their boots or how they walked in them.
all the while he cherished the gifts that were in his hands
and life went forward like this.

as he was able to walk better; he wanted to climb higher
but there were obstacles in his path.
rocks and broken glass;
his boots started getting scuffed up.
his feet hadn’t had time to heal nor the souls to thicken
and he felt the pain of walking.
soon one of his laces came untied and he didn’t notice,
he stumbled and stepped on something sharp enough
to stab through the souls and pierce his fragile boots.
he tripped and fell and came down hard.
though they cushioned the fall somewhat
the hearts broke in his hands when he hit the ground.

he sat alone in the debris,
wishing for the bootstraps of myth on which to pull himself up.

they searched for him knowing their hearts had been broken.
when they found him, they sat with him
all wounded, all angry, all confused.
he wanted to just sit there staring at his boots.
he wanted to weep and apologize
and give them back their broken hearts.
but they said “no, those are yours now.”
they did what they could to tie up one of his broken laces
and told him that when he was ready:
they would help him pull himself up,
walk with him again,
help him with his boots.

and so we wait…

sometimes –
broken lives and broken trust
heal even slower
than broken hearts.
sometimes –
the boots we are given
are almost worse
than no boots at all.

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One Response to “worn boots and broken hearts (a heavy-handed addiction allegory)”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Aha. I get it now :). Thank you for writing this. As always, it puts to words something in a way that gives the very thing you write about more grace and more meaning in my own life.


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