Let me begin by telling you that I had no idea where this expression came from when I wrote it down as the title of this post, so I googled. Apparently it originates from an old [early 1920’s?] story about a man who comes home to his apartment late one night, and as he is undressing for bed loudly kicks his shoe onto the floor. Realizing that there are people sleeping in the building, he gently removes his second shoe and quietly places it beside the first. A few minutes pass by when a man yells from the apartment below, ‘For goodness sake, drop the other shoe already!”
I can totally relate to the man in the apartment below. I can picture him lying there wide-eyed, not wanting to let himself go back to sleep knowing that when he does he will just be startled awake a second time.
I’m tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop. When people close to you are getting divorced or separated- parents, family, friends, good people who serve god, pastors even! – it’s hard not to think that you could be next. I’ve always kind of let this thought take up residency in the back of my mind: I really could be next. I look around me and think, there’s a pattern here and sooner or later I’m gonna conform. A few weeks ago I blogged about ‘expecting the bad’ in our marriages. There is a difference between a healthy expectancy of the ‘bad’ stuff (sickness, job loss, money troubles, etc.) and an unhealthy expectancy that your marriage could collapse any day, just because it fits the pattern or because it’s what you’re familiar with.
I know some of you are playing similar waiting games. For some, what you have known in your homes and what you are familiar with is alcoholism, or abuse, or adultery. You’ve seen the pattern, you know what it looks like, and now you’re just waiting. Waiting for the anger to surface, or for the depression to set in, or for that addiction to take over. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
This morning I read Hebrews 11, and you know how this chapter begins? By telling us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of the unseen! This whole sense of impending doom that I’ve got going on? That’s the opposite of faith. That’s the result of what I’ve seen with my eyes and what statistics and logic have told me. So yes, if I look around me, I could compile a long list of names that one day Chris and Rebecca Chase could be added to. The list of failed marriages. But I keep reading Hebrews chapter 11 and think I would much rather have our names added to this list. The heroes of the faith. “By faith Rebecca and Chris were united in a strong, godly, loving marriage until they went to be with Jesus.” Okay, so maybe in light of eternity having a lasting marriage isn’t quite as impressive as building an ark or child-bearing at 100 or leading the Israelites out of captivity, but it still counts… After all, couldn’t my marriage be used to glorify God and point people to Jesus? I definitely hope so.