It seems like a simple question, but do you actually know me? Do you know where I have been, or what I have done?
These are difficult questions, if you and I met for the first time, could you answer me? The obvious answer to this question is no you could not. If we cannot answer this question, then why are we so quick to think we know anything about anyone we have never met? This is another interesting question, by not knowing a person how can we adequately believe that we can assume anything? I honestly believe that we make a rush to judgement because we do not wish to take the time to understand each other.
As the old saying goes, “if you could walk a mile in my shoes.” what would you learn? Or if I could walk a mile in your shoes what would I learn about you?
Let’s take one moment, just a moment, to consider this. What would you find in my shoes? And what would I find in yours? And if we could walk in each other’s shoes would it change how we feel about one another? A better question would be, would you be willing to walk in my shoes?
At times we seem to be content to only view our needs, our desires and our wants, taking time to walk in someone else’s shoes would – I think - be distasteful to say the least. We are caught up in our world, that we pay no attention to the fact that this world belongs to other people too.
Back to my question, if you could walk in my shoes what would you learn? Would you find out that I am a mother, a sister an aunt and Grandmother? Would you learn about all of the disappointments in my life and all of the triumphs? Could you see the hurt I have seen, and share in the love that I have and do feel for others? Would you see the hope in my eye’s when my children attended school or acted in a school play? The hope that what they did would be accepted by others, rather than drawing jeers or boo’s even? Would you feel my heart break?
In my shoes would you find that I have lead a life that has been difficult most of the time, could you feel the tears that I shed, the fear that I have felt? Would you know just how cruel the world can be from my perspective? Or could you see the peace and joy that I have, in recent years, found?
If I wore your shoes, would I see the same things? Would I come to know that we are not that different?
We are all working toward the same thing in life, to find joy and happiness, to love and hope, working for a better future for ourselves and our families? Could our walking in each other’s shoes make us see that we are not that different at all? Maybe it would, and maybe it would not, I believe it would come down to our perspective, how do we see others, and would we be willing to walk in their shoes. Or if the idea of seeing things from another perspective is something that we are unwilling to do?
Take a moment and think about all the people on this planet, all working for the same things that you are, a better life, being proud of their children and families, having enough to eat and a place to sleep at night. Having the ability to support themselves so they can so all that they hope and dream for. Take a moment and think about how this applies to you, how closely do their hopes and wishes match yours?
Once again, I need to ask you, do you know me? Are you willing to see me through my shoes?
For the Christian, Jesus invites us to walk in his shoes to follow the path he paved for us. For those faithful to God, he invites us to walk in the steps of Abraham or Moses. Perhaps to those of other faiths, they are called to walk a path that lead them into enlightenment and peace or to walk in the steps of Muhammad, as he leads them to greater understanding of Allah.
Looking at this, are we all really that different?
Tell me, would you be willing to walk a mile in someone’s shoes, so you could know them better?