New Jordans

The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness (grief) of his mother.

Proverbs 10:1

When I was in grade school and high school, it seemed like shoes meant everything. When someone got a pair of shoes, everyone’s eyes turned to what they were wearing. I went to a school with kids from diverse backgrounds and income levels. I do not recall any student whose parents were well off. The student body was compromised of middle to low income students, so new shoes were always noticed. There were some who got new shoes and they wanted no one to notice as they were from Payless and affectionally known as the XJ-900, which were not the coolest shoes of the time. I remember when a kid came to school with the newest KangaROOS with the zipper on the side. I remember them putting change in the pocket before lunch, and we all thought this was the coolest thing. As I got older, the shoe game changed and there was a new shoe in town that captivated everyone.

I remember seeing Jordans for the first time, and I was enthralled by how they looked and how cool I thought they were. The shoes retailed for $64.99, which was much more coin than I knew my parents were going to spend on a pair of shoes, seeing that other shoes were much less expensive. You do not truly understand the cost of things until you grow up and have to pay for other things that are much more important than a cool pair of shoes. I remember a kid who was in the grade below me who always had the latest pair of Jordans, and I could not understand it. His mom worked hard, but his parents were divorced and his dad was not much of a factor in his life. His mom did her best to support the family, and I was puzzled how they were able to have surplus to buy such shoes after the bills were paid. I was jealous more than anything as I coveted the shoes on his feet, and I always wondered how he could have the coolest shoes.

We went to high school together for a few years, and we were pretty good friends, so I thought I would ask him. I asked him how he was able to get the latest Jordans year after year, and he smiled and told me his secret. He confessed he would sneak into his mom’s purse and take her credit card to purchase the shoes. His mom never caught on to his ploy which baffled me as my parents would have investigated like Sherlock Holmes and busted me like a pinata. I did a lot of dumb things in life, but I never entertained the notion of going into my dad’s wallet or my mom’s purse. I lost respect for my friend that day and I was kind of glad I did not have the latest Jordans if it meant I had to take from my parents to get them.

My friend and I grew apart as we grew older, and we lost contact as I got married and had a family. I heard stories about him, and it made me sad the things I heard. He had made some bad decisions in his life and struggled with consequences of the choices he made. I remember his mom being so sweet, and I am sure it grieved her to see him grow up as I saw it in her eyes when he used to do dumb things in school. I lost track of my friend, and I have not heard about him in quite some time, but he does cross my mind from time to time.

Having kids of my own, I have come to know that they can both break your heart and bring you happiness and moments of pride. I think back to all the times I brought heaviness to my own parents, and I desire to honor them in the years I have left on this earth. Does your life bring honor to your parents, whether or not they are still here on this earth? Are you living a life that brings them heaviness and burdens, or are you living a life that would make them glad? More importantly, is your life bringing honor and glory to God? May we not sell our souls for a pair of shoes (possessions), and may we not forget that a good name is more desirable than great riches.

Stay in the Fight!

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