I almost didn't do it. I debated and debated, wrestled in my mind and spent a ridiculous amount of time wondering what they would think. Proper enough? Stylish enough? Fancy enough? What would they think?
In the end, I went for it. TOMS for the wedding just seemed like the perfect thing to do. The girls really wanted to do it. The bride was on board. We could buy five pairs of TOMS for us and then TOMS would give five pairs of shoes to children in need. Honestly, it was the most liberating decision I made. I worried a lot about money over the last four months. We spent a lot of money the last four months. But this money? This was money well spent. My girls love these shoes. They were comfortable and adorable on Saturday. The girls and I will wear them all the time until we wear them out. And they looked just perfectly us. Even better, TOMS gave us a way to give even as we were clothing ourselves. Days later, every time I see sparkling little feet, my heart skips for joy.
I've made a lot of decisions in the last year. We renovated our house. We helped plan a wedding. We took a trip. All of those things were out of my comfort zone. We did big, big things. And there were old voices in my head all the while. Voices that raise objections to the choices I've made. A house full of noisy, messy children. A giant van and a really old car. School at home. A handmade life. I cared too much about what the voices thought, about approval, about appreciation.
A life woven around liturgy, every single day. It looked so different to them, so odd, so unimportant. They didn't say it right out loud, but I knew they were talking. I cared about what they thought, even as I deliberately chose a very different path. I could hear the voices. Voices that contradict the life I've chosen. Voices that care way too much about the way things look and not nearly enough about the way things really are.
They're quiet now. I choose not to listen ever again.
I've slipped my feet into a pair of TOMS (I didn't wear them for the wedding, preferring a very pretty pair of gold heels, but I did wear them until moments before and immediately after) and I've walked away from a legacy of mirages and facades.
Never have I been so sure of Sacrament as I was whilst kneeling in prayer as Ave Maria was sung after communion at the Nuptial Mass. Never have I been so sure that this life of faith--the one that found us and the one we've pursued--is so well worth the effort it takes to live it in the current culture. Never have I been so sure that being true to my own soul, to making decisions that match the vision my Maker has of me, is how to be truly joyful, in happy times and in times when sadness envelopes me.
God's plan is not the plan that has been trumpeted by those voices all these years. They sound like cheap tin horns now.
God's plan is voiced in a quiet whisper on a way-too-early morning while cradling a croupy toddler. And God's plan is voiced in a glorious, triumphant shout on an afternoon in the octave of Christmas in a breathtaking church.
God's voice is the steady, guiding cadence of the liturgy, day in and day out. It is in the words of the Mass, every single carefully crafted one of them.
It is the very Word that breathed life into our souls and the only genuine breath of life. His voice is peace and that peace is mine.
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