I adjusted my tie.
I got there and sat
In a pew just in time.
As I closed my eyes.
I saw the shoe of the man next to me
Touching my own and I sighed.
I thought, “Why must our soles touch?”
It bothered me. His shoe is touching mine
But it didn’t bother him much.
I thought, “This man with the shoes has no pride.
They’re dusty, worn, and scratched.
Even worse, there are holes on the side!”
The shoe man said a quiet “Amen.”
I tried to focus on the prayer
But my thoughts were on his shoes again.
When walking through that door?
“Well, this certainly isn’t it,”
I thought while glancing toward the floor.
The songs of praise began.
The shoe man was certainly loud
Sounding proud as he sang.
His hands were raised high.
The Lord could surely hear
The shoe man’s voice from the sky.
What I threw in was steep.
I watched as the shoe man reached
Into his pockets so deep.
What the shoe man put in.
Then I heard a soft “clink”
As when silver hits tin.
To tears and that’s no lie.
It was the same for the shoe man.
For tears fell from his eyes.
As is the custom here
We must greet new visitors
And show them all good cheer.
And wanted to meet the shoe man.
So after the closing prayer
I reached over and shook his hand.
His hair was truly a mess.
But I thanked him for coming
And being our guest.
I’m glad to meet you, my friend.”
There were tears in his eyes
But he had a large, wide grin.
Wiping tears from his eyes,
“I’ve been coming here for months
And you’re the first to say ‘Hi.'”
Is not like all the rest.
But I really do try
To always look my best.”
Before my very long walk.
But by the time I get here
They’re dirty and dusty, like chalk.”
And I swallowed to hide my tears
As he continued to apologize
For daring to sit so near.
I know I must look a sight,
But I thought if I could touch you
Then maybe our souls might unite.”
Knowing whatever was said
Would pale in comparison.
I spoke from my heart, not my head.
“And taught me, in part
That the best of any man
Is what is found in his heart.”
The rest, I thought,
This shoe man will never know.
Like just how thankful I really am
That his dirty old shoe touched my soul.