They haven’t seen the light of day since I was diagnosed with M.E.. They are very good quality Zamberlins. Although they are Italian, they were made on a British last for the wider Anglo Saxon foot. They took my strong legs securely up many a mountain peak, across moorland bogs and along northern dales. I loved walking in wild places and felt stimulated. Not only that, but I was shown valuable spiritual lessons in the solitude of those wilderness walks.
My weak leg muscles meant the boots had to be put away. It wasn’t just the walking that was curtailed, but much of the Christian work and activity that gave me so much fulfilment. That season of my life was over and I had to let it all go before I could enter into the next. Whatever that was to be?
It took time for me to come to terms with the situation. I had to work though with Father God, the feelings of loneliness and the loss of activity that gave me value, the loss of social contacts, strength and health. Also the grief I was experiencing wasn’t just for the immediate loss, but long-buried grief from years past. I came to realise that unresolved grief can in itself use up valuable energy and affect fatigue.
I cleaned and lovingly oiled the supple leather, before placing the boots back in the box. I don’t want to part with them yet. It’s no good giving them away, they would hardly fit anyone else, as they are moulded to my feet. I’m OK with the mountains though, even though I still get a thrill and a tinge of sadness when I think of them. I will be walking again, but more of the gentler kind.
I’ve since had other kinds of mountains to face. Mountains of fear, doubt and illness. As I accepted the situation and found healing, my vision was renewed and broadened. I began to discover latent gifts and talents and had more quality time with my wife. I began to learn new ways and find satisfaction in doing what I was able.
What I originally saw as a terrible loss, is turning out to be a life-saver.