And that is just what they have done. One pair of boots can see a lot during a short 5 months in a foreign country. “Take with you no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals or walking stick” (Mt 10:10). These boots have walked more than 197 total miles and climbed between 96 and 212 stairs a day during the week. Unfortunately, the legs of their wearer don’t seem to show it. They have traversed Seville, Puerta del Sol, Cathedrals, historic sites, public offices and El Corte Ingles; have stood in line, have run to catch the “walk” signal at the corner of Calles Bailen y Mayor far too many times, have avoided various animal…things, have been on the metro and the bus, and have slipped and skidded through the mud to bring their wearer home. They have pushed the laundry cart up the hill in the rain, they have gripped the outdoor tile walkways at Cerro del Coto well when they’re dry, and poorly when they’re wet. (Some may think that ‘the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain’, but that’s not true). They have been laughed at for being “short boots” and have faded dramatically with daily use. They’ve seen peaceful protests downtown, European ambassadors arriving in horse-drawn carriage to Palacio Real, and gypsies and refugees on street corners. They have veered around the tourist group that is always in the way near Mercado de San Miguel. They match only ¾ of their wearer’s outfits and have had to be worn with black tights, causing their wearer to feel a little bit of resentment toward them. They have walked through the mop water of apartamento #8 every Tuesday and Friday at 2:53pm bringing their wearer to be on a first name basis with the cleaning lady.
They have enabled their wearer to live with austerity, simplicity, dignity and a bit of distinction (except for those days of black tights). They have been a mark of poverty. They have blended in with the shoes of the natives- you can spot a tourist by their shoes. They have carried their wearer through the streets of Madrid as she prayed for the people she saw. They have been a cause for deep gratitude when their wearer saw the shoes (or lack thereof) on the feet of the homeless on the street. They have done street evangelization and have been turned down but carried “the dust” of rejection to the foot of the Cross and Eucharist “as testimony” (Mt 10:14). They have enabled their wearer to fulfill the mission God has given her. They have seen tears, joys, frustrations, laughter and prayers. They have been faithful to the end. And the end is near. They can no longer bear the burden of the day and through mercy, must be replaced. But, this pair of boots has given glory to God. This pair of inanimate objects have been used in their proper function in service of the proper function of man (love of God and neighbor).They have been at the service of the Gospel and blessed are the feet (and shoes) of him who brings the good news (Is 52:7).