August 5, 2007

The Greatest Sacrifice

Has anyone else ever made wild promises to the heavens? If so, were you able to actually carry through on your half of the bargin?

Spike and I had just moved to Hollywood. It had been a three day drive from the blizzards of Michigan and the bikini-clad shoppers and Elvis impersonators on Hollywood Boulevard were a welcome sight. Spike had an internship downtown while I spent 8 weeks getting to know our new city. We had an apartment three blocks from the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and I was chomping at the bit to get out and explore this fascinating place.

First I'd need the right shoes. All the shoes I'd owned in Michigan were black, leather, and snow proof. I knew exactly what I wanted: A moderate heel, just enough that I could wear them with jeans and look sexy but nothing that I couldn't outrun street thugs in. Nothing black, more of a nude color to accommodate the beach feel of L.A. No ankle straps to call attention to my cankles, no pointy toes to further elongate my size 10 feet and no big price to call my husband's attention to our bank account. So I set out for the Hollywood and Highland mall.

And there they were. After over an hour of searching the shoe racks of the boutiques at this world famous mall I found them. Five minutes later I was walking home with the shoes dangling in a bag from my arm. I felt an incredible lightness. These were the shoes that would mark my entrance into Southern California society. When I wore these shoes, nobody would peg me as a Michigan transplant. If I was really confident, they may even mistake me for a movie star... oh the possibilities of these shoes! The lightness I was feeling was unmistakable. Suddenly my stomach sank - the lightness was most noticeable in my back pocket - where my wallet should be.

Everything was in there. My social security card, my credit cards, and most importantly, my Subway Sandwich club card. Someone could be eating my free sub this very moment. I closed my eyes and promised God that if he could help me find my wallet I would show a token of my thanks and faith. I would make the ultimate sacrifice if only He would lead me to my wallet.

I would return the shoes.

I dashed back to the mall, eyes to the heavens, begging God to work with me. I'd do anything, anything at all if only I could find that wallet. Back at the boutique, my wallet was waiting for me safe and sound at the register. All my cash, cards and coupons were intact. Then I looked down at the plastic bag on my arm. I hesitated, knowing the cashier wouldn't know I was a welcher if I just turned and went home. I'd made a promise, but it did seem a little silly. These really were fantastic shoes and they weren't that expensive. Did God really still want them? I don't think He even wears my size...

After brief, yet excruciating soul searching, I laid the bag on the counter and whispered to the cashier to take them back. I had made a promise, rash and illogical though it may have been, I'd promised God pumps in exchange for my wallet and so pumps He got. It was with mixed feelings of devotion and despair that I walked home in my brown leather snowshoes that sunny California day.

That was over four years ago but every time I go to my shoe shelf looking for the perfect shoes for an outfit, I always secretly wish to see those shoes smiling up at me. When I instead see those old leather boots the martyr inside me glows with pride. I'm more careful now with my promises. Rather than promising my clothing, I usually just promise to be "really really thankful" if the heavens smile upon me. But I do allow myself a tiny hope that those shoes are waiting for me in Heaven as a reward for my faithfulness. If I'm lucky, He won't even have taken off the tags.


Melissa said...

Love it! :) I think we all make promises like that... like when I found out I was pregnant with baby number 3... I made all kinds of promises if ONLY it could be a girl. I love my boys, but I so wanted a girl. My girl came - but not without a price. She's almost 4 now and is crazy. And her new habit? Awake at 4 a.m. EVERY FREAKIN MORNING. God does have a sense of humor, eh?

emma jo said...

That darn and wonderful conscience. Someone once said that a "sensitive conscience is the sign of a healthy soul". You dun real good. And I have to say that I like the concept of all those things that we have sacrificed for "the greater good" waiting for us in Heaven...a universal balance, yeah.

Heffalump said...

It doesn't mean you can't go looking for those shoes again does it? Maybe someone is selling them on Ebay as we speak.

Nancy Sabina said...

Those shoes are probably in my closet! I think I own every pair. But none of them fit me since my feet grow with every pregnancy. I have an entire LARGE box of shoes that don't fit me which I refuse to let go just on the principle of how much I loved them when I bought them. Some are bargain, $2 Payless shoes. Some are fabulous, $150 Purple, steel-toed, 8-eye Doc's. *sigh* Maybe in my Heaven I can just wear all the great things I've bought and then out-grown. They may not be in style anymore - but I still love em!

Amy said...

umm? go buy yourself some shoes?

usually people make deals to stop smoking, or cheating on their stop doing bad things. So unless the shoes were lined with stolen cash, or had explicit pictures on them, then I'm not seeing the problem.

You are way to good. So Sarah, take off the winter boots and go get some shoes.

Mrs. M said...

Great story! I'm so glad you got your wallet back. I lost mine recently and had to get everything in it replaced. No fun at all. But then, I didn't have any shoes to take back or any other comparable sacrifice to offer. Hmmm.

Sarah said...

It's not that I haven't ever bought cute shoes ever since, but I never have been able to find another pair quite as perfect as these. This little story, like most I put up here, is just a warning against stupidity.

Emma Jo, you are a sweetie! I've been repeating that line in my head all day. I'd like to think I have a healthy soul :)

Rachelle said...

Good one, good one. Sent me into a fit of giggles.

but hay, you are the lucky one! Just think if you had promised your first born!

Nominating this post here:


david mcmahon said...

Hi again Sarah,

I forgot to say that your post jogged my memory - I must post about the time Mother Teresa intervened in a similar episode in my life.

And (whisper, behind palm of hand) don;t forget to correct ``bargin'' to ``bargain''.)

Good on you, Sarah, this is a very readable blog.



Abby said...

I promise God almost every month that I'll give up soda forever if I can just get pregnant. Sad in so very many ways...

Colleen said...

Awesome. If it makes you feel any better, I'm sure you've elevated the perfection of those shoes to a completely unattainable level. They probably weren't as cute as you remember.

Kate said...

This completely cracked me up. I do this all the time... and I usually regret it because I tend to always get what I'm wanting and bargaining for.

Thankfully I've had the common sense not to barter my imaginary firstborn child yet. :)

Martin said...

Great story! I'm so glad you got your wallet back.

Even I am crazy about shoes.

I have a very huge collection. Still never stopped purchasing. I just purchased