Yesterday Naomi had something that resembled a bad conscience. She had spent her allowance on yet another pair of shoes. She is a shoeaholic. The only one who may love shoes more than her is Imelda Marcos. (She was the wife of the dictator Marcos in the Philippines, and owned 3000 pairs of shoes. I do not compare her to my daughter lightly, and the only thing they may have in common is their love for shoes.)
“I bought them at H&M,”she said, “because they were so cheap. I feel kind of bad though because I had decided not to shop anything from them (H&M) because they are unethical. (She did not use the word unethical, actually, I think she said bad. Same thing. She has recently learned about how they use child labor, underpaid labor and how their workers pass out because working conditions in their third world factories are horrendous.) But what can I do when they are so cheap? And everything is unethical (or bad). Even amazon.com is bad, so what am I supposed to do?” (Yeah, amazon.com too. They treat their workers badly, avoid paying taxes, run small and big business out of business, write their own reviews. Who can you trust when you cannot even trust that good, old amazon.com is making the world a better place?)
I think she wanted me to say: “Buy more shoes, dear.”
It’s not easy to be good.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t have the answers for my daughters, or for the world. I probably would have bought a cheap pair of shoes too. It is easy to be idealistic until there is a sale. I bought a cucumber from Spain today although I could have bought a locally grown one. But I was in a hurry and then I don’t want to think about where the cucumbers come from. I just want the green thing and get on with life.
Is love the answer? Maybe. None of us can do everything right, buy everything right, give everything right, say everything right. Not me anyhow. But I can pray and strive to show more love. If I start the day by committing to love a little more, it may go in the right direction. Then my life will not be filled with dos and don’ts, but of: How can I show love.
It was recently Martin Luther King Jr. day and, man, was he a wise man. One of the many quotes by him I read that day was this one:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.
I am not sure what this quote has to do with buying cheap shoes. Maybe you do. But I like the quote and I am proud of Naomi. At least she is thinking about ethics. That is more than I can say about most people who are older than 14.