by Kathy Stauffer, from the June 2022 issue of The Compass
I went to visit my father a few years ago. Mom had recently passed, and he was doing well in an assisted living environment. In his 90s, he was mentally active, interested in what was going on in the world, wanted up-dates on the grandchildren, and especially liked to visit about farming. We often would settle him in a car and take him for the ten-mile ride to the family farm. He would check out the fields, enjoy the clouds, and reminisce.
The days of his wandering in a meandering, but purposeful journey from corn crib to barn to hog lot to machine shed were over. However, my brothers and I knew his footprints were all over the farm. He had left his mark in the toolshed, in the fields swaying with corn and beans, in the yard where my brothers, Dad, and I played softball every day after summer lunch. His tracks were in the grove surrounding the farmhouse, under the apple trees, and down the quarter-mile lane and back.
He often wore boots to protect his shoes from the messy areas of the farm—rain or shine. But since his move into town, he chose black leather shoes with two Velcro straps, easy to take on and off. I had paid little attention to them, except on that particular day, when we sat side by side for our visit, I noticed them. They were exactly like mine.
I had to laugh. Although I think I’m “with it” as far as fashion is concerned, in my corner of the world, there it was. I had shoes on just like my 90+ year old father: comfortable, worthy shoes. I’ll never know what it was really like to walk in my dad’s shoes: fighting in WW II, raising six children on an average-sized farm, serving on various boards, and never missing a Sunday at church.
Dad is no longer with us, but if I could have a measure of his love for God, of his spirituality; if I could but walk in shoes similar to his, just for this, I would be thankful.
He racks his brain for resolutions.
Bystanders look up; storm clouds throw shadows.
With lightning bolt and thunder slap
The firmament opens; torrents drench the streets.
Passersby scurry for shelter, protection.
For most, the storm poses a problem.
For him, it carries a solution.
He pushes the grate aside,
Covers his face with his cloak,
…and skates the flooded streets to freedom.
Kathleen Stauffer writes Christian suspense fiction available on amazon.com and Barnes and Noble online. You can reach Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.