Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 4


I put them on each morning. I take them off each night. Sometimes, I change during the day into a different pair. Just for fun, I counted my shoes. I have a two pair of sports shoes – both black; dress shoes –black and brown; sandals – again, black and brown; Mary Jane style flats – black and khaki; and, boots – black, knee boots and snow boots. Me, one person, owns ten pairs of footwear.

Perhaps, many people might think ten pairs is a lot, while some people may think it’s not very many. But it works for me. I have what I need, plus a few extra, and for that, I’m grateful.

For I’ve seen poverty, real poverty, when one pair of shoes for a six-year-old boy was like the golden ticket to him. I remember the day with clarity.

In 2011, I visited an orphanage in Africa. Each child lived within a family type unit. Each unit had a house-mother, actually two women who rotated their live-in role on a two-week basis. The “family” ranged from the youngest toddler or infant to a teen, with all ages in between.

That day, one young man in particular stands out in my memory. As I sat in the immaculate front room on a comfortable couch, his “Mom” asked him if he wanted to show me what he’d just received. His face brightened and he scampered back to the bedroom that he shared with his “brothers.” He returned with a simple box. But, he carried it as if he had the jeweled crown of England on a pillow. He walked up to me, slowly and carefully. He stopped in front of me and held out his treasure for my inspection.

“I got shoes. Now, I can go to school,” he said. The pride in his voice almost brought me to tears.

The box contained one pair of black, dress shoes. 

“He can go to school, now, that he has shoes,” his “Mom” said. She, too, beamed with pride for the young man in her care. 

My view of shoes changed forever.

I’m grateful for my abundance of shoes.

            What fills your heart with gratitude today?


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