Strong shoes

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A soft glow filtered in between the curtains dancing on the dark hardwood floor. “It must be time to rise and shine,” I thought. A half smile briefly kissed my lips as I wondered just how many times I had heard my dad’s singsong voice using this particular phrase.

Though I heard the birds outside heralding the day, my heart did not join into their song. No joy bubbled up from within at the thought of another winter’s sunrise. Instead a vague tiredness settled over my sleepy self, urging me to pull the covers over my head and succumb to dreamland once more.

Understanding washed over me as filmy clouds became thoughts; my life had changed. My big brother’s voice would not greet me if I called his number. I could listen to the voice mails that procrastination had left undeleted from my phone, but hearing his recorded voice provided small comfort. It only urged unshed tears to coarse down my checks unbidden.

“Well, I can’t lie here with the mullygrubs forever. I’d better get moving.” Missy could hear me stirring and began to whine. A black streak bounded from her room heading straight for the back door as I obediently opened it. I wondered for the hundredth time just who was in charge around here, as it certainly didn’t appear to be me calling the shots.

Between coffee and Missy running in and out as the urge struck her, I began my inventory for the day. As usual, the things I wanted or needed to do far outnumbered anything superhuman effort could accomplish in any given day. But I made the attempt to find some order, nonetheless. I, like many, find a sense of comfort in the ordinary routines of life. When things go awry, make a list.

The grey sky matched my melancholy mood as I finally completed cataloging the things I needed to accomplish. I usually prioritize the most important to the least and save what I don’t complete for another day. The only problem with this way of organizing and planning is that many times I really don’t know the order of importance; there are always so many variables. On this particular morning I had forgotten to ask for guidance before embarking on my day’s journey.

I reigned in my busy mind and settled for a quiet moment to read my Bible and pray. Before long the grey sky seemed a little brighter.

Thank you, Father, that you always have time for me. Thank you that you hold every tear in a cup and that you understand my grief.

“Each of us may be sure that if the Lord sends us on stony paths he will provide us with strong shoes.” — Alexander McLauren

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at