"The Shoe Man"
I showered and shaved,
I adjusted my tie,
I got there and sat
in a pew just in time.
As I bowed my head in prayer,
as I closed my eyes,
I could see the man next to me,
his shoe touching mine.
With plenty of room on either side,
I thought, "Why must our soles touch?"
It bothered me, his shoe touching mine,
but it didn't seem to bother him much.
A prayer began: "Our Father" ... I thought,
"This man with the shoes, he has no pride.
They're dusty, worn, and scratched
and there's holes on the side!"
"Thank You for blessings," the prayer went on,
As the shoe man said a quiet "Amen."
I tried to focus on the prayer,
but my thoughts went to his shoes again!
Aren't we supposed to look our best
when we walk through that door?
"Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought,
as I glanced toward the floor.
Then the prayer was ended
and the songs of praise began.
The shoe man was certainly loud,
sounding proud as he sang.
His voice lifted the rafters,
his hands were raised up high.
The Lord could surely hear,
the shoe man's voice from the sky.
It was time for the offering
and what I threw in was steep.
I watched as this shoe man reached
into his pockets so deep.
I saw what this man pulled out,
what the shoe man had put in.
Then I heard a soft little "clink",
as when silver hits on tin.
The sermon really bored me,
and that is not a lie.
It was the same for the shoe man,
for tears fell from his eyes.
At the end of the service,
as is the custom here,
We must greet each new visitor,
and show them good cheer.
But somehow I felt very moved,
and wanted to meet the shoe man.
So as soon as the closing prayer was done,
I reached over to shake his hand.
He was old, and his skin was dark,
and his hair was truly a mess.
But still I thanked him for coming,
and for being our guest.
He said, "My name is Charlie,
and I'm glad to meet you, my friend."
I noticed there were tears in his eyes,
but he had a large, wide grin.
Then he said. "Let me explain,"
as he was wiping tears from his eyes.
"I've been coming here for many months,
and you're the very first to say 'Hi."
"I know that my appearance
is truly not like the rest.
But I honestly want to tell you
That I truly do try my best."
"I clean and polish both my shoes
before my very long walk.
"But by the time that I get here,
they're dusty, just like chalk."
Then my heart felt the pain,
as I swallowed to hide the tears.
As he continued to apologize,
and for daring to sit so near.
He said, "I know that when I get here,
I really must look a sight.
"But I thought if I could just touch you,
then maybe our souls would unite."
I stood there silent for a moment,
knowing whatever I said,
Would only pale in comparison,
so I spoke from my heart, not my head.
"Oh, you've really touched me," I said,
and you've taught me too, in part;
"That the very best of any man,
is what is found in his heart."
The rest, I thought, this shoe man
will never ever truly know.
Like how very thankful I really am,
that his dirty shoe had touched my soul.