Courage at Twilight: His Shuffling Feet

At various times of the day—like 6:30 a.m., or 9:30 a.m. on a Friday when I work from home, or noon on a Saturday when I am cooking apple cinnamon oatmeal—I hear that shuffling across the floor, one drag longer than the other, and the other more marked than the first, each a pull and scrape across the carpeted floor upstairs: I hear them from the kitchen downstairs, like short fingernails raking a blackboard, like a breeze sighing through bare winter branches, like a phlegmatic chronic cough, like Marley’s chain of evil and despicableness but not of evil and despicableness rather of righteous cheerful painful endurance and enduring every hour of every day of every year into 90 years and of refusing to give in and of fighting to give and to give, to give out energy and love and forgiveness—to let go of anger and pain and absurdity—to give away one’s remaining sins and stubborn imperfections. I laud the man who owns that shuffle, who owns those twisted falling swollen aching feet which make those whispering shuffling sounds.  Mom slips on his socks in secret: he does not want his horrid—he thinks—and helpless feet to be seen, to be exposed and known.  And I hold my breath and tense my whole body hoping those feet keep on shuffling across the uneven floor, praying those feet do not stop their shuffle in trade for a fall and a crash and an end.  I have never shuffled my feet, yet, though my shuffling soul has dragged itself whining but unpretentious through much of its mortality, vertical and moving, weak and slow—moving.  My direction is what matters: my trajectory: my desire’s focus.  You and I, we keep on shuffling.  He shuffles perseveringly on.

(Image by stich78 from Pixabay.)

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