Monday, February 27, 2012

what i want more than shoes

Six months is a long time to fast from buying new clothes, but I learned a mad lot.

I learned that consumerism is stressful. Not giving myself the option of cruising through clothing sections in stores was actually really freeing. I hadn't realized how much mental pressure the vague, have-to-measure-up agenda is. Measure up to whom? I really don't know, now that I think of it. As if people will like me more or less because I have new things. As if. I enjoyed the clothes I already have a lot more because I simply wasn't looking for new ones.

About halfway through, I realized that maybe I was getting off easy with the whole liberation-from-buying feeling. Maybe the biggest good fasting does for us is in teaching us to appreciate, to want, to desire, and not to possess. So I started trying on shoes. Looking at clothes. Several times it took every amount of willpower I have to walk out and leave a "so ME!" thing behind. But one of the things I wanted to do with this fast was to sacrifice my "necessities" to give to people who don't have literal necessities, not to stifle my appreciation of beautiful things. Giving out of a heart alive to desire is a lot deeper, more personal, than giving from a heart that is somewhat disengaged. Maybe this all sounds like a strange, torturous, and still somewhat consumerist regimen, but it softened my heart to the needs of others.

Now that my fast is over, I've been wondering how to mark it. In wondering, I remembered a dream I had when I was a kid. I wanted some real, soft-soled, leather moccasins. For some reason, I identified hugely with Native Americans from an early age and spent hours in the woods, making shelters, pottery from mud, bows and arrow, and practicing silent walking. I lived with Naya Nuki and other Native Americans in books I read. Much later, two Native Americans were discovered in my ancestry, which is a source of quiet pride. :) Once, I was describing to my friend Bessie the deep connection I feel to nature and the earth, and she looked at me strangely and replied, "I'm glad you're a Christian." True dat. It would be easy for me to be a bit pantheistic, believing that God is contained in nature instead of the bigger truth that God is in nature... but so much more encompassing. But this isn't a theology post. I was talking about moccasins. I'm so excited about these:

A little hippie. A lot Native American. They're perfect. So they might not be the latest style or anything, but I'm thinking they will look just adorable with my muslin dress with the crocheted lace on the gathered skirt. And, as much as I love shoes... I can't stand them in the summer. I'd go barefoot everywhere if it was socially acceptable. Moccasins are the closest thing to barefoot you can get, pretty much. Happiness.

So ends my clothes-buying fast. How to buy now? That's the question. This morning, I was ogling these lovelies:
...and how cute are these yellow flats?
They would be SO perfect with my grey dress! And every woman needs a pair of nude heels:

As I was busy composing a WANT list in my head, I stumbled upon this picture:

My eyes burned a little from humbled tears and my next mouse-click was to MCC's website to donate money for shoes for an HIV-positive child in Uganda. I want to keep changing. I want to BE the change I want to see in the world. That desire is far bigger than my want for shoes.


Johanna said...

Thank you for this post. Very thought provoking.

Clair's prayers said...

Becca, this is what I love about you. I love when this side of you comes out. . .

A Joyful Noise said...

Lovely thoughts on shoes and then to the bottom line to donate so others may have shoes! God Bless you!

Lydia said...

Loved this...and your thoughts on how your fast helped you appreciate the things you had more. Funny isn't it? We thing MORE things will make us happier when in reality often living simply brings more happiness.

And that last picture of the pop bottle "shoes". Wow. Don't think I'll look at a pop bottle for a long time without thinking of it.

Thanks for sharing your heart.