Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Journey Begins With Shoes

Blue Suede Shoes of Discovery

Hi. I'm Pat Green. A writer, story teller, and photographer. Over the last few years some followed my former blog, Night Moves: Diary of a Chicago Area Cabbie Ex-Preacher Man. There is also a book that you can purchase on Amazon, "Night Moves: An Ex-Preachers Journey to Hell in a Taxi". I've also written columns for 22nd Century Media, Aquarius News, been guest featured on Patheos as well a smattering of other spaces for both writing and speaking engagements.

This is a new direction with greater focus on my passions of storytelling and photography. There will be a daily photo and short story 6 days a week with a special extra one day a week. So, enough with that, let's get to the first story.

***The Journey Begins With Shoes***

When I was a minister I befriended Illinois State Representative, Emily McAsey. We shared many common passions about local residents, especially the poor and children. We learned a lot from each other about not only the needs of members of the community, but who is best situated to meet those needs. We did not care about their political or religious affiliations, we just saw people who loved well.

On April 15th of 2010, Emily gave me the great honor of delivering the benediction to the Illinois General Assembly. My child got to come with me and be an honorary page on the house floor. The morning of the session, Emily gave us a tour that included a visit to her office.

In her office was a pair of worn walking shoes in a plastic and cherry wood display case. I had asked her about the shoes. She said that those shoes were the shoes she wore in her first campaign as a freshman hopeful to the General Assembly. For almost half an hour she told me about the people she met going door to door in what is now her district. Behind every door was a story. Some were lovely and others were horrific.

Every door. Every story. Every conversation. Every parade. The shoes took her. The shoes wore out as she learned what she would need to do to serve the community. Every blister came with a lesson. Every ounce of soreness in the arch and heel despite the quality of the shoe came with a heart growing to understand and appreciate. They were steps to not only understanding and victory, but the beginning of years of service to her community. They were steps of love.

I thought about my own shoes. When I drove a taxi for over a year, I donned now very worn blue suede driving shoes. 12 hours a night, six nights a week, the shoes went with me. They guided the pedals in 3 states, the hoods, the projects, the uptown, the downtown, the urban landscapes, the sticks and suburbia. They got stuck in the snow, they chased runners, ran from danger, carried groceries and luggage up countless flights of stairs and so much more. Every adventure I wrote about and the ones I did not, the shoes took me every step and guided every move the taxi made. Over 93,600 miles logged and over 7,000 passengers with countless lessons and conversations in those shoes.

My shoes are not in a display case, they sit in my room. Like Representative McAsey, the shoes hold meaning of a time and place where the world changed for me as it did for her.

Every journey begins with the right shoes and the right shoes can carry us to new directions even after they are no longer worn.

So, put on a good pair of shoes and journey. Make mistakes. Meet new people. Learn. Live. Love.

Editor's Note: Please send a picture of your shoes and the story behind them. Best story will receive a free signed print of the photo and an autographed copy of "Night Moves".

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