Someone else’s shoes


“You’ve never been an addict have you?” It was an unexpected challenge that brought silence as I sat and talked with a former meth addict who was trying to piece his life back together and gain custody of his little girl. He was not angry or aggressive, but quiet and looking for someone who could relate to his situation. I was just beginning my counseling training and was volunteering at an outpatient addiction treatment center.

“You don’t understand, you just don’t understand. You can’t unless you’ve been there,” is heard from a lot of people. I’ve heard it from war veterans, and also people who have gone through tough times. I honestly don’t know what it’s like to have people who want to kill you, shooting at you, planting all sorts of explosive devices in your path. I’ve never battled cancer, had open heart surgery, been divorced, and a whole host of other experiences. But I honestly ask, do you have to go through those things to have an idea of what is faced and battled?

I’m a bachelor right now, my wife is helping my daughter take care of newborn twins plus a 5  yr. old and a 2 1/2 yr. old. I’m about a month into an all summer single life existence. I’m getting a different perspective of life. My days before were filled with my wife and I together: coffee and devotional in the morning, coming in after work and talking, work out then supper then bedtime. We would go shopping, go for drives, sit on the back patio… Now I have coffee by myself, walk into an empty house, fix my own supper, wash my own clothes, wash my own dishes (I can hear “it’s about time!). But it’s different for me, this new singles experience. I’m not divorced nor have I experienced the death of a spouse, but I’m being forced to acclimate to a different lifestyle than I’m accustomed. After 38 yrs. of togetherness in pretty much everything, this has been challenging for me.

I now have a taste of what it’s like to put a life together after loss of some kind–minus all the emotional duress that goes with it. I can empathize with widows and widowers, to a degree. I know it isn’t the same, but I taste it, I’m getting a glimpse, a look through the window of what it may be like when someone talks about living in an empty house, trying to fill the time before lying down in an empty bed.

You aren’t alone in what you experience. We share the journey of life with all the questions, doubts and fears, and can relate to one another in our own ways to pain, heartache, dreams, joys, love…

I’ve worn different shoes… I use those experiences to minister to others.

How about you? When have you experienced something and felt alone? Let me know.

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity, so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is–the devil.” Heb. 2:14