A few days before Nash’s accident, I ordered him a new pair of football shoes and had them shipped to the house. He was going to start his first year of tackle football that following Monday. We were so excited to see him play that season – Nash had really started becoming more aggressive when it came to sports and his love for sports just poured out of him regardless of what he was playing. He had always been fun to watch play basketball, but we were beyond excited to see him play tackle football, he had been talking about it for weeks! As we were sitting in Wesley hospital a couple of days after the accident, it occurred to me that those shoes were probably on our front doorstep. I immediately text our friends and neighbors that were watching over the house and asked them to please watch for those shoes and donate them somewhere as soon as they were delivered so someone else could use them. I didn’t want to see those shoes when we got home. They seemed like a cruel reminder of all that had been lost and I hated everything those shoes stood for. Those shoes felt like a punch in the gut to me.
We are now knocking on the door of Nash’s two-year anniversary since his second chance at life. What a glorious thing to celebrate! For some reason, those shoes keep revisiting me in my mind. I wouldn’t say I dwell on them by any means, but I do think about them often and wonder where they ended up. Nash never had the privilege of wearing them onto the football field, but someone did. I wonder if they know how special those shoes really were? I wonder if they know how amazing the kid that would have worn them is? I wonder if they ever stopped to think about how amazing it was to feel their feet glide across the grass as they ran down the football field? I wonder if they walked tall as they left the field with a sense of victory after a great game or if they were great sports as they faced the feeling of defeat? I wonder if they have any clue how big those shoes they were wearing really were? After all, they were shoes meant for a warrior – they were shoes meant for a kid that has no idea what backing down in the face of adversity means – those shoes were for a kid that rises up when the going gets tough and fights for what he wants – they were shoes meant for the toughest and bravest boy I know – those shoes were meant for BATTLE!
I will most likely never know who had the honor of wearing those shoes, but it does make me reflect on my own journey and maybe it will make you stop and think about yours. Whose shoes are you possibly walking in and how are you wearing them? Maybe it’s a parent that has passed on and you have the honor of carrying on your family legacy, maybe it’s a new position at work, maybe you are a new parent or a new spouse just learning the ropes from those that have traveled this road before you. Regardless of your path, we are all following someone else’s footsteps in this amazing journey of life. Have you ever stopped to wonder if that person would be proud of how you are wearing their shoes? I think of my Dad in a lot of the things that I do, especially on the hard days – somehow I feel like I walk in his shoes now and I hope I am making him proud. So today I ask you – Whose shoes are you wearing? Whoever’s they are, make them proud – I know you can!
- Karen Lindberg