Awhile back in the 20th Century, I was leading some workshops in another city. You know, the kind of thing where you stand there all day, say a few wise things, manage a crowd, and try to help people grow a bit in their thinking and practice.
So the hard part was standing there all day because right before I left town I had played softball and ended up covering both shortstop and second base, each just long enough to get cleated hard on the top of each foot. OUCH!
So, after day #1 of workshops I totally hated the dress shoes I was wearing. UGH! I made a quick trip to the nearest mall and the MOST comfortable shoes I could find were some high top sneakers. They just happened to be red.
Fortunately, red actually goes with everything, so it worked out well for me on day #2 of leading those workshops. And my feet felt so much better! In a prophetic tone at the end of the day, one participant said "Hey, Red Shoe Guy, why do blah, blah, blah......?" Of course everybody laughed. ha ha ha
The next day a friend of mine came up and said I had come up with a really good idea in my workshop that people had been talking about. Right before my ego got too big, he said "Ya know, they couldn't remember your name but they did know you were the only guy here wearing red shoes!"
So, it stuck. Now, about 15 pairs of red shoes later, they still don't always remember my name. I have actually had people get angry when I don't wear red shoes. Can you believe it? When somebody books me for a retreat or something, they always ask "You are going to wear your red shoes, right?" or something of the sort.
I've found that red shoes inspire people to strike up a conversation with me in airports, coffee shops, hardware stores, camp, and even in Church. I've even had a few de-churched folks say "Hey, if I found a church that would let me wear those shoes to worship, I'd get back in the habit!"
So, I have begun to think of my accidental brilliance as a Spirit thing, post Pentecost of course (hence the red). Imagine people casually talking just because of some shoes? And imagine that conversation moving towards faith talk. Mine. Yours. Ours. Theirs.
So, go ahead, forget my name.....but.....you'll know it's me when you see me!
Copyright 2008, Charles W. Harrison, The Center for Wesleyan Renewal