A Shoes Story

story — the word has been on my mind recently. my job at compassion is to convey all kinds of stories to people, ocean apart, who give us money every month. i tell stories through articles, photos and sometimes prayer requests. but i thought, “hmm, i haven’t been telling a lot of my stories lately…it’s about time i start doing that!”

so, this year, my theme on this blog will be “story”. it will be stories i will have encountered with — maybe about me, someone else or random experiences. i hope to fill this online corner with adventures and emotions. i will probably not be as disciplined to write every day…and sometimes i will forget to tell stories and just rant or complain…but i invite you {whoever stops by here today} to join me and pray that you will bear with me.

i don’t have any aggressive objectives, except that i will be a better story teller through practicing and, most importantly, that i and you will see God’s grace through thick and thin and be able to give Him thanks.


i love shoes. i may not be as obsessed as carrie bradshaw from “sex and the city” or rebecca bloomwood from “the confessions of a shopacholic”, who can’t resist to buy a new pair of shoes despite the fact that their closets are bursting at its seams. i never smell new shiny shoes too. 😉 {i do that with books} but i enjoy wandering in the shoes department, appreciating the art of shapes and forms, patterns and colors. i don’t usually buy a lot of them all at once. and i never buy a pair of shoes that cost more than a thousand baht. but i love shoes.

right now, i have about 5 practical pairs for different occasions: an already-worn white flip-flops {that i sometimes wear when i trek. stupid, i know, but very convenient. you should try}, a pair of brown leather sandals for work and other formal business, a vintage white dress shoes with pastel orange flowers for weddings and banquets {white holds a special place in my heart}, a pair of sneakers for when i don’t feel like wearing flip-flops when i trek and a pair of used running shoes {that my american friend passed on to me 5 years ago. surprisingly, they still fit. i have hobbit feet. they never grow bigger.}

as you can see, i am quite practical when it comes to personal items. i think i have done pretty good at resisting temptation.

yesterday, i went to central plaza airport, a big shopping mall in chiang mai, to pay bills. every time i go there, i tend to lose my self-esteem…not much…but enough to be very self-conscious about my look. see, it seems like 75% of the shoppers dress like they are on a paris fashion week’s catwalk! and this is just chiang mai! if you have been to the paragon mall in bangkok, you will understand me when i say i would rather stay home and shop online than come out with my way-too-laid-back outfit.

anyway, while i was window shopping, i thought i would stop by a shoes shop…”just to look”. then just a few feet away from the shop, i decided to simply walk past because it was unnecessary. i don’t need a new pair right now because i have enough and because i have too much to commit to financially already. i was a bit sad and quietly blamed the fate {rolled eyes here} for too many expenses i have to be responsible for. so i thought i would watch a movie as a replacement for my disappointment.

i bought a ticket to watch “the Lady”, a movie about Aung San Sukyi, and bought a box of popcorn and a bottle of water. then i proceeded to the quiet, red-carpeted lounge to wait and was settled quite comfortably in my high-back victorian chair {yah, theaters in thailand are quite fancy} as i read dr. scott todd’s 58: fast living book. { by the way, i haven’t been able to finish any compassion books in my 3 and a half years before because of the heavy content…and if you are like me, you have already lived “compassion” for 5 days, then you would rather read a chick-flick or a horror story than a book on holistic development. no offense, of course}

i came across this passage that brought such conviction to my desires:

dr. todd was talking about the earthquake in haiti and the blame people posed on the Divine as “an act of God”.  he said that in comparison to the earthquake with similar magnitude in greater los angeles area in 1994, where only 63 people were dead {and the population in LA was 12 times greater than in port-au-prince}, “the difference between sixty-three deaths and 230,000 is poverty.”  i was blown away by his challenging perspective because, like most people, i don’t think we can control nature. his view was that the devastation in haiti was not because of the “act of God” alone but also poverty born out of corruption.

“but what is an ‘act of God’ really?…should we limit God’s actions to things like earthquakes and infections? we tend to credit humans with interventions like rebars and vaccines, but they are acts of God too. all good things come from Him (see james 1″17). would anyone say, ‘because human invented shoes, i won’t wear them’? no, of course we wear them, and if we are in a right state of mind, we thank God for providing them. (bold added)”

dr. scott todd from the 58: fast living book

the bold sentences were what struck me. it may be a bit irrelevant to what dr. todd was saying but it pierced my heart because i was secretly jealous of people who wore more fancy shoes than i. i was convicted, at that moment, that i hadn’t thanked God enough for providing me shoes to wear and money to buy them. i often looked at my rugged sandals and compared them with those red shiny shoes…and i wish i had those too.

but the fact that i don’t have to walk barefeet and burn my skin on a sun-scorched street is enough to celebrate.



About Mink Gough

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9 View all posts by Mink Gough

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