alarm went off -- it was Sunday again; I was tired -- it was my one day
to sleep in.
the guilt I'd have felt the rest of the day would have been too much, so
I'd go; I'd pray. I showered and shaved, adjusted suit and tie, got
there and swung into a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in humble prayer before I closed my eyes, I saw that the
shoe of the man next to me was touching my own and I sighed. With plenty
of room on either side, I thought, "why do our soles have to touch? It
bothered me so; he was glued to my shoe, but it didn't seem to bother
Then the prayer began: "Heavenly Father,"
someone said -- But I
> thought, "Does this man with the shoes have no pride?" They were
dusty, worn, scratched end to end. What's worse, there were holes on the
side! "Thank You for blessings," the prayer went on. The shoe man said
a quiet "amen." I tried to focus on the prayer, but my thoughts were on
his shoes again. Aren't we supposed to look our best when walking
through that door? "Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought,
glancing toward the floor.
the prayer ended and songs of praise began. The shoe man was loud,
sounding proud as he sang. He lifted the rafters; his hands raised
high; The Lord surely heard his voice from the sky. Then the offering
was passed; what I threw in was steep. The shoe man reached into his
pockets, so deep, and I tried to see what he pulled out to put in, then
I heard a soft "clink", as when silver hits tin.
sermon bored me to tears--And no lie--It was the same for the shoe man,
for tears fell from his eyes. At the end of the service, as is custom
here, we must greet visitors and show them good cheer. But I was moved
inside to want to meet this man, so after the closing I shook his hand.
He was old, his skin dark, his hair a mess; I thanked him for coming,
for being our guest.
said, "My name's Charlie, glad to meet you, my friend," And there were
tears in his eyes -- but he had a wide grin. "Let me explain," he said,
wiping his eyes. "I've been coming for months, and you're the first to
say, "Hi." "I know I don't look like all the rest, but I always try to
look my best." "I polish my shoes before my long walk, but by the time
I get here they're as dirty as chalk."
heart fell to my knees, but I held back my tears, he continued, "And I
must apologize for sitting so near." "But I know when I get here, I
must look a sight. And I thought if I touched you, our souls might
was silent for a moment knowing anything I said; would pale in
comparison, so I spoke from my heart not my head. "Oh, you've touched
me," I said. "And taught me, in part, that the best of a man is what's
in his heart." The rest, I thought, this man will never know. How
thankful I am that he touched my soul!
might be best friends one year, pretty good friends the next
year, don't talk that often the next year, don't want to talk at all
the year after that.
I just wanted to say, even if I never talk to you again in my life, you
are special to me and you have made a difference in my life, I respect
you, and truly cherish you.
this to all your friends, no matter how often you talk, or how close you
are. Let old friends know you haven't forgotten them, and tell new
friends you never will. Remember, everyone needs a friend; someday you
might feel like you have no friends at all, just remember this e-mail
and take comfort in knowing somebody out there cares about you and
author : Leanne Freiberg