Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

In Someone Else's Shoes

by Ann Cavera

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A cousin of ours in one of Kentucky's larger cities is a man with a heart of gold who lives a rough-and-tumble life on his own terms. "Will" is also an excellent artisan who makes his living etching glass for partitions in fancy restaurants and banks.

He runs his business from a house near the inner city. Outside his house he parks a large, old truck and he never bothers to take the keys out of the ignition. Late one night, Will heard somebody drive away with his truck.

He ran into the dark too late to catch the thief, and so he filed a police report. Thinking the thief might not have gone too far, Will spent the next couple of days driving around nearby neighborhoods. Sure enough, he spotted his truck parked beside the curb down a dead-end street. He quickly summoned a police officer to verify his stolen property.

Inside the cab of the truck, Will found two things: a man's size 4X jacket and a humongous pair of almost-new, hardly worn work boots, prompting him to make two decisions on the spot.

First, he decided not to prosecute the thief. (After all, Will had left the keys in the ignition.) Second, since he wasn't going prosecute, he insisted the officer wouldn't even need to go to the trouble of knocking on doors, trying to locate the perpetrator.

Will had his truck back, but what was to be done with the jacket and boots? Giving them to a large-size friend to wear around the streets of town wouldn't be a favor to a friend if the thief spotted his jacket. The jacket went to Goodwill, hopefully in another city.

Not long afterward, we happened to be visiting our relatives, Will's mom and dad, and we mentioned our parish project to supply shoes for the homeless. The large, almost-new work boots came home with us and joined the growing pile to be donated to a shelter after Easter. We feel certain those boots turned out to be a "perfect fit" for someone in a homeless shelter in Atlanta.

Easter is about trading old lives for new. Our hope is not in what we do, or who we are, but in the resurrection. Because of Easter, we trade our old lives for new life in Christ. We walk away from the empty tomb knowing that Christ, freed from death, has freed us from death, too.

It seems fitting that boots belonging to a thief found their way onto the feet of someone without a home. After all, when it comes to salvation, aren't all of us thieves and homeless? Aren't all of us trying to steal into heaven walking in the shoes of Christ? 

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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.


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