I hit the big ‘3-0’ next week and so I’m having a bit of a party at the weekend. Naturally, I’ve been wondering about what to wear and shoes of course play a big part in this. Trawling through the internet I came across these weird and wonderful creations from ‘Irregular Choice’ (www.irregularchoice.com) that actually really make me smile and feel a little bit brighter!
True, some of them are plain hideous and most of them cost an arm and a leg so my conscience is already kicking in and wondering how it can possibly be justifiable to spend so much on shoes when many people in the world don’t even have clean water. I’m someone who has a real social conscience about things like this, is prone to thinking it’s a frivolous waste of time and money and rolls their eyes when girls go ga-ga over shoes, as if they’re going to bring them happiness and fulfilment!! I reckon more people should think seriously about these points of view.
And yet…….! I wonder whether perhaps it makes more sense to spend a lot of money on fewer pairs of shoes and then really treasure them, rather than buying cheap and easily disposable clothing of lesser quality on a regular basis (The ‘Primark Effect’!). And besides, beauty and creativity are such necessary things in life to make it worth living that we need to keep hold of them. Otherwise, what is the point of everyone having clean water, simply so they can exist, in the first place?!
I have some friends who work for Luton Churches Education Trust and they go round schools doing anger management, self-esteem and self harm prevention groups as well as much more. However, they always make sure to go away on retreat at least 3 or 4 times a year to refresh. It’s like they need to remind themselves of goodness and beauty and vibrance so they can go back into the difficult situations and bring those qualities into them. Similarly, I’ve always thought I wouldn’t want to live somewhere really perfect and beautiful (like Switzerland!!) because there are so many places that are struggling and need input and help. (Blatantly there are no perfect places, so everywhere has need to some degree, but there are clearly places that are more desperate than others!) At the same time, I know I need to get away to beautiful, harmonious places every now and again to recharge and remember what it is I am actually aiming to develop in the more broken places. Plainness and poverty have no inherent value in themselves I think, although their advantage is that they can bring simplicity to an already over-complicated life, and focus our attention on what really matters. But God’s kind of life is described as abundant or ‘to the full’ and I’m sure beauty and design are included in this, provided they do not become the centre of everything!
So please sit back, relax and enjoy the following creativity and vibrance as much as I did!