“Sunday Shoes,” Friend, Feb. 1992, 27
Maron shoved her feet into her Sunday shoes and sat down to do up the buckles. She loved Primary, and every week she carefully brushed her long blond hair and put on her best dress. Today she was all ready to go except for her shoes. She knew by how tight they felt that when she stood up to walk, her toes were really going to be pinched. Why did her feet have to keep growing? In the last couple of months, her shoes had been getting tighter and tighter. She didn’t know how much longer she could keep wearing them.
Usually her mother took her to buy new shoes when she outgrew a pair. But right now Maron’s father didn’t have a steady job. The company he worked for had closed three months ago, and he had been looking for a new job ever since. Every day Maron prayed that her father would find a good job.
She knew that her parents were worried about money. Dad had been doing small jobs like delivering pizzas for the pizzeria and working at the gas station on the corner whenever the owner could use him. They barely had enough money to pay the bills. Her parents talked about it sometimes at night, when they thought that she was asleep.
Last week Mother had taken Maron and her little sister, Christa, to a thrift store to look for clothes. They had found two pairs of pants for Maron and a pair of pants and a T-shirt for Christa. While Mother was searching through the piles of clothes, Maron had gone to look at shoes. She was very disappointed because there was really nothing suitable to buy.
I just can’t tell Mother how tight my shoes are, she decided. I’m sure she’ll tell me to wear my tennis shoes. Maron didn’t want to wear them to Primary. They were limp and gray from being washed so often. And one had a hole in it just above the big toe. It just wouldn’t feel right to wear shoes like that to Primary. Maybe when you were only four like Christa, no one noticed what you wore, but when you were nine, Maron was sure, everyone did.
Maron stood up and winced. She walked carefully around her room. It was going to be hard to walk without limping, but she was sure that she could do it if she concentrated very hard.
During Primary it was difficult for Maron to think about anything but how much her feet hurt, especially the right one. She held her breath when Sharing Time was over. Sometimes they had singing time in the same room. She hoped they would today. Then she wouldn’t have to walk to the other side of the meetinghouse. Unfortunately, this Sunday she was disappointed. Usually she enjoyed the walk after so much sitting, but this week every step was painful and it was all she could do not to sit down in the hallway and take off her shoes.
After Primary, her right toe hurt so much that she just had to limp. As the family all climbed out of the car and walked into the house, her mother watched her with concern. “Maron, what’s the matter, honey? Is your foot hurting you?” she asked.
“A little bit,” said Maron, trying to sound as if it were no big deal.
“Sit down,” ordered Mother. She leaned down and unbuckled Maron’s shoe. She pulled it off carefully. They were both dismayed to see that the end of her left stocking was wet with blood. Mother helped her into the bathroom and lifted her up onto the counter. She gently pulled off the socks and dropped them into the sink. Then she carefully washed and bandaged Maron’s toe.
Later, after Maron had changed out of her Sunday dress, she limped into the kitchen, where Mother was preparing dinner.
“Maron, honey,” said Mother, “you should have told me that your shoes were too small.”
“But I don’t have anything else except my tennis shoes and …” Maron stopped talking as tears started to fill her eyes.
“That’s a problem, all right,” Mother said.
“Mom,” said Maron, “we had a lesson on tithing in Primary. Sister Richards said that if we pay our tithing, Heavenly Father will bless us. We all pay our tithing, and I’ve been praying every day for Dad to get a job. If he had a good job, you could buy a new pair of shoes for me. Why doesn’t Heavenly Father listen?” asked Maron.
“Oh, Maron, Heavenly Father always listens,” said Mother. “Sometimes, when He doesn’t answer as fast as we think He should, it seems like He isn’t listening. We just need to remember that Heavenly Father knows what we need, and He loves us very much. Don’t worry. When the time is right, Daddy will find a good job. We need to be patient and have faith. In the meantime, have you prayed about the problem of your shoes?”
“No. Do you think it would help?”
“Well, Heavenly Father knows what kind of help we need most, so why don’t we ask Him to help with this problem?”
Later, when Maron knelt with her father and mother and Christa for family prayer, she explained her problem about the shoes and asked Heavenly Father to please help her to find some shoes to wear to Primary. She asked again in her prayers before she went to bed, and in the morning after she got out of bed. She prayed every day that week for help in finding some shoes.
By Saturday she was starting to worry. In the morning she would be going to Primary, and she still had no shoes. That afternoon, Maron and her mother made another trip to the thrift store, hoping that someone had brought in a pair of shoes that would fit her. But there were none.
When they got home, Maron went straight to her room and closed the door. She knelt down beside her bed and pleaded with Heavenly Father to please help her find some shoes to wear to Primary. When she finished, she felt a warm feeling inside and knew that everything was going to be all right, although she didn’t understand how.
Just after supper, while Maron was wiping dishes, the doorbell rang. It was their neighbor, Sister Leavitt. She was carrying a large cardboard box. “I’m sorry to bother you on a Saturday night,” she said apologetically. “I don’t know if you can use any of these things, but my sister asked me if I knew anyone who might use them, and I thought of Maron. Her little girl is just older than Maron and has outgrown them.”
“May I look, please?” asked Maron.
Sister Leavitt set down the box, and Maron opened it excitedly. Right on top, just as she knew there would be, was a pair of beautiful black patent leather Sunday shoes in just the right size.