Psychic Sterling Sinclair:
If I walk a Mile in Your Shoes, My Feet Will Bleed
August 19, 2014
The Olympics bring out the worst in me if my team loses because one of the players missed the easiest swing, throw or shot. I can get so wrapped up in an Olympic game and the desperate desire for my team/country to win that I can yell profanities toward the sportsperson on the TV screen. Like in that moment, I sound like I could have done better. There is no way, but what happens to me?
In the heat of the moment, the game becomes personal. I forget the pressures the person is under. I stop listening. Does this ever happen to you?
While immersed in the deep, throbbing, moist action of life, as bystanders we have a tendency to think we can do better than someone else. Somehow, we imagine ourselves more successfully walking in their shoes. It is easy to say, “do this” and “do that” to another person when your guidance is rooted in your life experience. It is difficult to make it work when immersed in another person’s life situation.
When I was younger, minding other people’s business was a preoccupation (it seemed) of mine because it was a way for me not to acknowledge my own business that needed work. Other people’s shoes did not look appetizing or easy to walk in – other people looked like they were simply not walked in correctly. I thought I could walk in them better than they could walk in them.
The change for me progressively came when I moved away from home, started meeting other people and shifted my education focus to sociology, biblical studies, women’s issues and female liberation theology. It was not until I heard stories and began to live my own life that other people’s shoes no longer fit my feet.
Have you ever tried on a 6 inch stiletto that you admired on the shelf just to find out that you can’t walk in it after you badly twist your ankle and fall into the shoe rack? You walked in the store all sexy and put together one moment and then in another moment (and without warning) digging yourself out of a pile of shoes with your skirt pulled up and your 3 week old Brazilian showing to the sales person.
I have bought hiking boots that look great with all the right attributes and fit right at the store just to find out half way up a hill that they are too heavy for me to walk in.
As the background story comes into the picture, our ability to walk in another person’s shoes becomes far more daunting a consideration. It is only when we truly take time to listen to the story behind the story, the secrets behind the secrets, that we see the shoes for more than they seem. It is only then that wearing another person’s shoes does not look that easy to walk in.
In my career, I am asked questions about people’s lives. It would be easy to make up a story or read the surface information and say do this and do that but life is not an accounting ledger book. We can’t simply add up the lines and make a conclusion. Life has its own life and each of our lives is different than others. We all like to polish or wear our shoes in ways we want people to see them, but what our shoes look like on the outside do not reflect the wear inside at the toe.
By trying on our friend’s shoes and trying to walk in them while listening as we take each step, our friend’s story is heard.
By taking time to truly listen, we learn to walk in our own weathered shoes alongside our friend wearing his/her shoes. We no longer tell our friends how to walk in their shoes – our friends help us walk in our shoes.
When we walk together, climbing the path of life becomes easier and more meaningful for all of us.
If I Walk a Mile in Your Shoes, My Feet Will Bleed…
Let’s try walking together.
You are not alone.
PS. I still have a ways to go when it comes to the Olympics, but I am working on it. Thanks for hearing my confession and taking time to walk with me.