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shoes…that made me think

September 8, 2009

Last weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the N-Side Out Retreat for Middle School students at Springdale Community Church in Louisville, KY.  It was an awesome time, but I saw something that really made me think.

While I was there, instead of a group recreation time, the Middle School students scattered around Louisville for service projects.  Some went to a homeless mission to help clean, some went to a shelter to paint, others to help sort toiletries at another place.  I was supposed to go with one of those groups but wound up getting separated from the group.  Since I had no idea where they were going, I thought I would have  few hours to myself to burn.  I called the director of the weekend and told her my predicament and she sent me the address to the Children’s Home where she was serving.  I plugged it into my GPS and I was off.

When I arrived at the Children’s Home I realized a difficult truth.  These kids were there because of some sort of abuse, neglect, or they had been taken advantage of in one way or another.  Mostly guys, I saw in their faces the eyes that told the story…always be on guard.

I joined the group while they were playing dodgeball.  I jumped in and we had a blast…with the exception of me hitting a kid in the leg with the dodgeball.  He went down and cried.  I apologized profusely and immediately decided this was not a matter of LIFE or death.

After the dodgeball matches, we went to the dining room and shared snacks, crafts, and most importantly time with the guys who live there.  I had the chance to share a message of hope in Christ (IN A STATE FUNDED CHILDREN’S HOME!) and then I saw something that changed it all for me.

I met a young man there who had on his football cleats…because he had just left football practice.  I noticed the cleats because they had red tape on them.  They looked like something from the past…like YEARS past…like you would see in the original “Longest Yard,” “Invincible,” or “We Were Marshall.”  I couldn’t take my eyes off his shoes.

I don’t remember his name, but I remember the look on his face.  He was so proud to be on the football team, to have a uniform, and to have cleats.  They were cleats most of us would have NEVER worn.  They were old, worn, and coming apart.  They had red duct tape on there because they NEEDED it.  They were hand-me-downs, JUNK…shoes that most of us wouldn’t let our own kids wear.  They were the cleats we got rid of because they weren’t Under Armour or Nike.

I had to think, would I be happy with someone else’s hand-me-down cleats?  Would I have even worn them?  Would I give my worn-out cleats when I could have afforded to get HIM some new ones?

Just thoughts…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sherry Wilson permalink
    September 8, 2009 4:13 pm

    Isn’t It so sad that children, even here in America has so very little but they hold their head up high because what they DO have is the BEST in the world to them.
    God please forgive me when I complain about really small stuff.
    This really inspired me and I pray that I NEVER turn anyone away that I can help in some small way!!
    Love you

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