One of these little trinkets belonged to my grandmother. She received a little pair of white, ornamental china shoes decorated with pink and blue china roses where the ties or laces should have been. She enjoyed the gift because they represented the love of her daughters who gave the gift but also because of their prettiness.
admired until one day, a few years later, my grandfather used
them to entertain the granddaughter they both loved deeply.
Grandpa decided to dress my doll in the best finery he could find. He took those cherished china shoes and attempted to place one on the doll's foot. It did not fit but he kept pressing harder as he tried to make it work. The shoe broke into pieces - ruined.
But Grandma replaced the good shoe on the shelf and picked up the broken pieces. She glued them together, restoring the shoe as close to its original shape as possible. Then with great care she placed it beside its mate.
Years passed and the glue in the cracks turned brown with age. Grandpa passed away. I grew up and had children of my own. She told the story of the little ornamental shoes and the reason for the brown tinged cracks over and over.
The time arrived when my grandmother needed to move to a smaller apartment. She sorted her treasures and the lifetime of memories they represented. She took those little shoes from the shelf and asked me, "Would you like these? Well at least the good one. I supposed I should've thrown the other one out years ago but couldn't make myself do it. Maybe now it's time."
"I want them both grandma. The set needs to stay together just the way I remember them. The story and memory wouldn't be the same if I only had the unbroken one."
I received the pair of china shoes and a huge hug that day. Now they sit on a shelf in my home and I tell the story to my grandchildren who never had the privilege of knowing this wonderful woman.
Every time I look at them I am reminded of my grandparents and their love.
I am also reminded how imperfect we all are but how God does not throw us away. He waits for us to give him all the broken pieces of our lives. Then he mends them together with His amazing love, mercy and forgiveness. We might look at all the mends in our lives and see flaws like the brown of the glue but God sees us like the first little unbroken shoe - whole and perfect because of the blood of Jesus. We are broken yet loved by God more than we can comprehend.
Carol Harrison is a speaker, writer and educator from Saskatoon, SK. who believes we all need to be continuously learning and growing. She uses the power of story to encourage, help people find their voice and offer a flicker of hope in life's choices, changes and challenges.