I recently purchased sandals for the first time. Not that I’ve stolen them in the past, I’ve just never owned a pair—at least not that I remember, and certainly not as an adult. I’m still getting used to them, as I wear them primarily on weekends and remove them whenever occasion permits. They’re convenient, no doubt, but they’re sweaty and call upon muscles I did not previously know God had created. If I walk at a continuous, brisk pace for more than a few minutes, the outer edges of my feet begin to cramp. If I’m not careful, I’ll stumble going up or down stairs. If I go too fast, the flip-flops will flip and flop right out from under me. It’s like learning to walk all over again, an event so traumatic that I, like everyone else I know, have blocked it from memory.
But poise and social grace aside, there are other reasons to opt for regular, comparatively-bulky shoes, even when one is doing nothing more than sitting at a computer, typing a blog post or taking phone calls from angry customers. By removing one’s footwear, a person is immediately at peace with the world, at ease, relaxed, sedate. Once that person achieves an adequate level of inner tranquility, restoring the shoes to one’s feet fills the individual with a sense of comfort, security, love, protection. A pair of lightweight sandals simply lacks the breadth necessary to come in handy—er, footy—at these times of emotional and psychological need. It’s like comparing a handshake to a hug, a high-five to a kiss. Forget about it!
I kicked my shoes off for a little while at work today. Seeing as how no one complained of an odd smell, I think I’ll make a habit of the practice. It was refreshing. I felt like I was somehow getting away with taking a nap, right in front of everyone, right on the phone, right while talking to a customer. And when I finally slid my feet back into their dress code-friendly abodes, I had mellowed to such a degree that the enveloping synthetic material felt like nothing more than a foot rub—a gentle massage, magically paused with pressure perfectly applied to my appendages.
Anyone whose childhood took place largely during the penultimate decade of the 20th century is already familiar with the wise words of Mr. Miyagi: “wax on, wax off.” Not wishing to compare myself to this sage, let me nevertheless borrow his simplistic formula in offering some wisdom of my own—shoes on, shoes off. Herein you’ll find peace.