This is a tale of two shoes. Shoes that I purchased for my two-year-old daughter. Shoes that only after I returned home that evening, cut off the tags and slipped onto her adorable feet, did I realize were the wrong size. Well, one of them was.
This is also a tale about kindness and my total and shameless lack of it.
As a mom of a toddler and a newborn, time is a precious commodity. If you can get two minutes by yourself to go to the bathroom, you’ve essentially won the lottery. So when I realized that the store had paired together two different size shoes and that I would have to make the 20-minute-plus drive back the next day to correct the issue—I was…well…annoyed.
The next morning I was all business as I entered the store and headed straight to the shoe section, only to find that none of that particular style remained.
“Are you serious?” I muttered in disbelief. There had been at least half a dozen shoes in that style the previous day, and now not a single one was left.
I scanned the store for an employee to ask for help. The only two people on the floor were ringing up customers at the register. Great. Wrong shoes, no shoes…and now, no help. I had officially slipped into my grumpy pants.
Then I found her: the gal organizing the fitting room (which, by the way, for anyone who has worked in retail, is the least desirable place to be in my opinion). I began to offload my first world problem shoe issues onto this young, unsuspecting employee. Unfortunately, she was just as clueless about the disappearing shoes and suggested I ask the employees at the front.
By this point, I had officially boarded the snarky train and my bad attitude was full steam ahead. I grumbled a “thank you” to the employee…but it was far from genuine. I didn’t intend to take my angst out on her, but she got it. The huffing breath, the roll of the eyes…all of it.
And that’s when God jumped in. Charging my way back to the front of the store, I was stopped in my tracks by these words:
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” Luke 6:32-34
Ouch. It’s easy to love others and be kind when they love you back. But God was taking this verse an extra step with me. What about when your circumstances go wrong? When life is chucking one too many lemons at you from all directions? How do you respond then? Are you still kind? Do you still show love? It’s easy to have a good attitude when everything is going your way. The true test of character is how we behave when things don’t work in our favor.
Now, my little shoe-pocalypse story is a mere drop in the lemon bucket. There are clearly far bigger problems in life than a pair of mismatched toddler shoes. But it was a great reminder for me that character is everything—and that showing love and kindness is always the right thing to do, even when it is the hardest.