These are my hiking boots. I've had a few pairs over the years. The last ones were heavy monstrosities covered with leather, rubber, and metal rivets. They lasted a decade until they finally fell apart in the middle of a backpacking trip. (Another win for duct tape!)
When it was time to upgrade, I wanted something light and nimble that would allow me to move fast and go long. Settled on the the Asolo Falcon GV's.
In April last year I hiked 22 miles in these boots over rugged terrain with a loaded backpack. Then 25 miles the next day. And so on. The boots performed.
A couple months ago, I did a two-mile run in them. The sun was setting and we were on a rugged costal beach in Oregon. It was getting dark. The rental car was two miles away. We agreed that Lana should hunker down on the beach and enjoy the last waning rays while I went for the car. So I strapped on my headlamp and took off. I don't want to run a marathon in these boots, but they did great for a short distance.
Lately I've been selecting them as my everyday footwear. Especially on the wet autumn and winter days. When it is raining outside and I don't want damp feet, I reach for these. Not long ago I wore them down to the school bus stop to pick up my kindergarten daughter. Rain was coming down hard. For me: these boots and a black raincoat. For her: big green umbrella and a unicorn backpack. Win-win.
The whole purpose of this My Shoes project is to highlight the stuff that ties us together. Like footwear. It’s just one small swing at what seems like a lifelong project in pursuit of unity.
Please join by sharing your shoes.
You’ll upload a photo of your shoes and answer some questions, like “Where have these shoes taken you?” and “What do you believe?” and “What do you fear?”
The latest version of this invitation also includes the option to upload a photo of yourself.
Below are my answers.
I’m an American. I’m from the upper midwest but now live in the American south. I’m married to a remarkable woman and thankful to be the dad of three joyful kids.
I believe in a lot. Most importantly for me are those things that require faith and can’t be proven. That miracles exist. Prayer works. That divine grace has the power to transform lives, like mine.
I also believe in the promise of America: that this nation offers a unique opportunity to all—native-born and newcomers—to pursue better. American Greatness, by my read, is not dependent on the ethnic composition or superficial alignment of the people, but on the broad embrace of a few shared principles: life, liberty, and pursuit for all.
I believe that everyone is a carrier of precious gifts. Those gifts are meant to be shared. I love seeing one person’s gift bless another. Perhaps that is why I’ve spent over a decade pursuing and publishing stories written by people facing homelessness at Speak Up. Impoverished or not, they still have gifts to give.
I’m not sure what I fear. I don’t want to die yet, but I’m not afraid of it.
I do fear self-deception. I fear that my own internal monologue will be louder than external wisdom. I’m wary of my own blinding pride and the traps it lays. The first line of this this paragraph, before I corrected it, was accidentally written as, “I’m what I fear.” Perhaps that wasn’t a typo after all.
I love my wife. My kids. My larger family. I love this beautiful earth and spending time in the outdoors.
Also: late-night trips to my local Wal-mart. I like those outings. A great deal. A lot. Probably because that’s when I get to see such a cross section of my beloved Americans: messy and tired, people of all shapes and sizes. We are various colors, rhythms, and languages. We are desperately different, but also the same. People—swimming in a sea of possibility and circumstance, needing to love and be loved—just putting one shoe in front of the other as best we can.