Originally published Monday, 15 July 2013.
It's a journalism expression.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It's basically like waiting for a paragraphical punchline. Like, the classic, what's black and white and re(a)d all over?
The first few sentences, or the lead of the story will say something like:
It was a ripe and sunny-hot day in Dallas, when Texas-native Russell Crowe completed the marathon with 2500 other fast and furious runners.
Then usually, in the next sentence, the shoe drops:
Only, Crowe completed the race with one leg.
Boom. How did he run the marathon with only one leg, you ask? Read on, reader. Read on and you'll discover how.
I think of the shoes dropping in this imagery are dark purple, Converse shoes. Laces tied together. One dangling ominously, haphazardly closer to the dusty grimy ground than the other. The ones you see hanging above the smoggy allies.
I used to think this was the sign that drugs were nearby. And about three years ago, I made the mistake of telling my old restaurant friend, B, this one night while he was driving me home from a late-night trip to Kelly's, a bar up the road that we servers would frequent after we hung up our aprons at the end of our late-night shifts.
The conversation began with B explaining to me how much I've changed since I met him. How I used to be such a sweet girl until I began working in the restaurant. And how he felt like I had been influenced too strongly by the people I work with.
He wasn't wrong. He was, after all, driving me home from Kelly's. But I, being the stubborn woman that I am (and under the influence of a glass of wine or two) was going to tell him that he was.
Everyone always says that I'm soooooooooo corruptible, I said. But, I'm not.
Aren't you? He asked.
NO! In fact, everyone's always trying to make me do bad things and it never works. So, HAH! Plus, if I wanted to get into trouble I could find it on my own. I know where to get drugs.
Really, Brett? Where? He asked. Almost a little too curiously.
Where the shoes hang over power lines. I didn't actually say the word, "Duh," but it was clearly implied.
What? He peered over at me from behind the steering wheel of his car. Where did you hear that?
This guy in Chattanooga, Tennessee told me about it on a missions' trip once, I said.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not a thing, was all he said. He curled his lips into a tight smirk, like he was trying not to burst out laughing.
To this day, I'm still convinced that shoes hanging from the power lines means that drugs are underfoot. So to speak. I haven't found any so far (I haven't been looking, just as an FYI).
I've changed a little the last three years. I'm not a restaurant girl anymore. I don't spend every night after work drinking with my coworkers. I'm not so malleable to, or surprised by peer pressure. I'm less bitter. And I think through this season, I've learned how to trust God a lot more.
The process was gradual, but I didn't realize it until I was already in its midst. Suddenly, without warning or reason, it seemed that I stumbled upon my stream in the desert. Here I am, at the end of a rather tricky, faithless season, somehow in a completely contented, joyful, accountable place.
And it doesn't make any sense. At all.
How could I--in the midst of the bad decisions I've made, and all of the time I've spent in bars, being confused by Christ and even more confused by his Church--wind up here? In this full, good-for-the-soul season?
And, as much as I hate to admit, I've wondered if the other shoe is about to drop in my life.
Or, is it that God really is as faithful as He promises He is?
I make a lot of proclamations. And maybe one day I'll be judged for them.
But, I don't think that's how God and blessings work. I don't think God hangs this high, heavenly carrot from the sky. Hoping to entrance us. He gave us humans dominion over things like carrots; He doesn't have to manage them.
What's more, I don't believe that God makes shoes drop in our lives. I don't think He sets us up to surprise us or break our hearts during these good, hopeful seasons.
That's more work of the enemy, the way I see it. Whispering in your ear. Telling you that a good-for-your-soul season is a mirage.
The Bible asks us if any of us can, "Add a single hour to our lives?" (Matthew 6:27).
Worrying about shoes dropping in your life gets in the way of being thankful for the rich, healthy, happy seasons of your life.
And, until today, it was getting in the way of mine.
What about you, friends? Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop in your life?
Anyone else heard what I did about shoes dangling from power lines?
Leave a comment below!