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My Soul Problem Was Written on My Insoles

I should tell you about my shoes. It is a sordid tale of boastful pride and the desire to be envied.

Months ago, I had my worn-out loafers re-soled. For years these shoes had ably served me. I’d already had them re-soled once before. Although of humble lineage (Kirkland brand from Costco), they had become very comfortable after a couple weeks of painful breaking in. They were also fine looking, although my wife, Judi, didn’t care much for the tassels.

With their new soles my Kirklands gave me more months of faithful service—until they began to come apart at the seams. They were clearly beyond repair. With some regret, I began to look for new loafers.

I searched at Costco, but they no longer carried loafers. Penney’s had nothing that appealed to me. I almost bought a pair at Macy’s but they were not quite right.

Then I went to Nordstrom Rack and there I found my new loafers. They were black, they were immediately comfortable, and they were tasseled. I quickly snatched them up, took them home, and showed them to Judi. She thought they were fine shoes and a good buy—although she didn’t care much for the tassels.

I can’t blame Satan for this. It was all a product of my own sinful self. My insole problem was a soul problem.

My old and faithful loafers had been low-cost Kirklands, but these new loafers were Cole Haans, a much more upscale brand. Cole Haan had never before had a place in my footwear economy. Their price at the Rack was $60, about $100 below their normal price. I’d never before owned a pair of $160 shoes. I know people spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes, but to me $160 shoes seemed like high living indeed. I was pleased with my good buy.

But then the story took an ugly turn. It was not enough that I had found a comfortable pair of Cole Haans for a great price, I soon found myself wanting others to know I owned a pair of expensive shoes. Stitched into the insoles of my new loafers, was a classy, satin-like burgundy name plate that proudly announced their exalted pedigree, “Cole Haan.”

In some dark corner of my soul, I wanted people to see that name plate. Perhaps they would think better of me if they could see that I wore a more exclusive brand of shoes. “Wow, he’s wearing Cole Haans, he must be one of those really successful people.”

At the gym, when I changed into my sneakers, I would leave my new loafers out a little longer hoping someone would notice them. But no one ever did. While staying with extended family on Christmas vacation, I left my Cole Haans in the living room overnight, hoping someone would notice and comment on them. But, alas, no one did.

It was all very pathetic. What was I thinking? I wish I could say Satan or one of his demons put this distorted thinking into my head. But I can’t blame Satan for this. It was all a product of my own sinful self. My insole problem was a soul problem.

I still have my nice, comfortable Cole Haans, but now they are just shoes, nothing more. Well, maybe they are one more thing. They are reminders of the ease with which I can slip into sinful thinking. Whenever I am tempted to think of myself as spiritually advanced and able to handle temptation, I do not need to look deeply into my soul to correct that false thinking. It’s written in my insoles.

Postscript: As I often do, I asked Judi to read my article so I could have her opinion. “What do you think?” I asked. She paused, then said, “Well, that’s one way to get everyone to notice your shoes.” 

About the Author

  • Mike Guerrero

    Mike Guerrero served as lead pastor of Shoreline (Washington) Covenant Church for 40 years. He is now retired and hopes to remain so.

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