Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a man who travelled for the first time to a town called Ubique on business. He arrived on a very cold day, in the deep of the winter. The wind was blowing and every step he took caused a flurry of flakes to burst into the air beneath his feet. As he walked along the streets on the way to his hotel, he noticed a beautiful woman, dressed in furs as well as a man, also wearing an expensive fur coat . . . however their feet were bare. As he continued along, he noted that this was the same with every person he passed or whom he met. They all were dressed very respectably and appeared to be very well to do, buy nobody was wearing any shoes at all. The limped along, wincing in pain from feet that were afflicted with chilblains and bruises.
Upon his arrival at his hotel, he went up to the front desk, and as he looked around him, he noticed that nobody in the hotel was wearing any shoes either . . . not the desk clerk, nor the bellboys or any other attendants. All were barefoot. That night at dinner he sat next to a very prosperous looking older gentleman and fell into conversation with him. The old man seemed so kindly and open minded.
"Pardon me if I seem intrusive," he said to the older man, "but I have noticed that nobody in this town appears to be wearing shoes, and yet they are suffering from cold and bruised feet. Would you mind telling me why this is so?"
"Ah!" exclaimed the old man, raising his eyes piously, "Why indeed!"
In talking further with this kindly companion the man was never able to get past that point. Although the elderly man was perfectly willing to admit that shoes were desirable above all things, and that all should wear them . . . he seemed to have no explanation for why they did not.
The traveler had some free time the next day and so he decided to take a walk through the town. Here and there were scattered beautiful buildings, each more elaborate and larger than the ordinary buildings of the town. Surely they must be important places. At one he noticed a man sweeping the steps of the beautiful structure and, his curiosity piqued, he stopped to talk to him.
"What is this building?" he asked. "I am a stranger to this town, and have noticed that there are many buildings just like this scattered throughout your lovely town."
The sweeping man looked up at him and replied. "This is a shoe factory."
"Oh!" exclaimed the traveler, "Then they make shoes here!"
"Not at all," responded the sweeper. "They merely talk about making shoes, sing about shoes and pray about shoes."
Pointing to a sign by the door he saw an announcement that the chief official of this particular shoe factory gave a lecture on every seventh day on . . . shoes. Subjects for up and coming lectures included such titles as, "The Origin of Shoes," "The History of Shoe Making," "Varieties of Leather," etc. He was informed by the sweeper that once every seven days, every other business in town was required by law to close, that nothing was allow to be open except for the shoe factories, and that all the people gathered in them to sing and to pray and to hear the lectures about shoes, but that no shoes were produced and nobody wore them.
The traveler pondered upon this as he continued on his walk. He happened upon a tiny side street where he found a small shop where inside an old German Cobbler was making a pair of shoes. The traveler stopped to buy a pair and took them back to his hotel to present to his elderly dinner companion as a gift.
To his great surprise, the old gentleman declined the gift. He assured the traveler that none of the best people ever wore shoes and that, in fact, to wear shoes was considered a sign of fanaticism and hypocrisy . . .
You might wonder the point of this story . . . but think about it. The shoes are just like the idea of faith and God, and the practice of religion. Something which is probably one of the very best and most useable forces in the modern world for helping to develop character and making happiness . . . has been jockeyed into such a position that people are now afraid to claim that they have it and that they use it. Anyone who embraces it is seen to be a bit fanatical, and it is not considered to be polite to discuss it in social circles or public places. In fact those of us with faith are seen by those without faith as being deluded by myth and using it as a crutch to get us through our feeble lives. People of faith are seen as being deluded.
Prayers have been taken out of schools and other public places. People wearing crosses are being denied the right to do so, and in many, many places it is not considered politically correct to celebrate "Christmas" as a religious holiday, or indeed to claim to be a Christian at all for fear of offending those who are not. In fact it is increasingly becoming so that we are almost afraid to admit that we are Christians . . . Sunday is no longer a day of rest, and has become simply a day much like the other six days of the week.
We have become just like this town . . . with plenty of shoe factories . . . but nobody makes or wears the shoes. We have shoes . . . with nobody in them.
Food for thought . . . will you be putting on your shoes today?
We had a lovely evening last night at our Relief Society Additional Meeting. Not a large turnout, and the same old sisters which seem to come each time, but still, all that were there seemed to enjoy themselves, which was nice. It was an evening all about making positive changes in our lives and making achievable goals and we had healthy refreshments of fresh fruit and vegetables and hummus. It is nice to get together with the ladies like this. We're all so busy on Sunday mornings that there is seldom time to really enjoy each others company . . . these little activities are such a wonderful platform for building relationships and sharing with each other!
Yesterday's Silver Lining . . . it was cold, but it did not snow and the roads were nice and clear as we drove to the church last evening. Being able to spend a few hours with like minded friends was very good.
A thought to carry with you through the day:
"Make it a rule . . . never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say,"I have made one human being at least a little wiser, a little happier or a little better this day."
Cooking in The English Kitchen today, thrifty fish for Friday . . . Crustless Salmon Pie with a Lemon Butter Sauce. Delicious, economical and easy to make.
Have a great day!