Friday, August 7, 2009
Most surfers and California beach-wear afecianados know what Rainbow Sandals are. They are a light-wear, leather sandal that forms to your foot, virtually indestructible, rather like wearing twin slices of heaven on your feet.
I like to think of them as the sandals Jesus wore.
Whenever we are back in San Clemente, Ca., we stop by the factory to pick up a pair or six. This last visit, the chief architect running the construction of the sandal manufacturing empire gave us a tour, and it was absolutely fascinating. Fashioning the leather straps, cutting the layers of rubber sole, applying the patented glue…you could tell this guy LOVED making Rainbows. Each one was special to him. And like Jelly Bellies, whose factory we also visited, even the flops were items of love and care. (Try purchasing bags of belly-flops the next time you’re passing through Fairfield, Ca.)
Which brings me to my own experience with Rainbows. I have owned, through the years, multiple pairs. They each have different purpose. My nice ones, I wear to work, or to important meetings, like with my elders, or the Mayor. My “Used to be Nice” pair has started to become worn and faded, and so they are my Lake Pair, or Surf Pair…whenever I’m heading to the beach, wherever they will potentially get soaked, or left out in the sun for hours…this is the pair that is good to go, rough and ready…my adventure pair. Then, I have my “Yardwork” set…my oldest and most cherished pair, I’ve loved them for more than a decade, but due to age, and rough wear, they are…what is the word I am looking for…shot. The rubber sole is worn thin, and the leather is worn completely through where my toe lands when I walk, and they stink, but let’s not dwell on that fact. What you need to know is that, if I were to send them back to the Rainbow factory, they would restore every worn part of the sandal and return them to me good as new, because that is their guarantee. But I am not eager to do that, because I love them exactly as they are.
In other words, I have some Rainbows that I use for noble purpose, some for ignoble purpose, but all of my Rainbows do I love dearly.
Now, I’m no Karl Barth, but I am certain that God loves you more than I love my Rainbow Sandals. The next time you read a difficult passage in the Scripture, like Romans 9:21, never forget that our God is the Lord of Love. And just like the factory in San Clemente, when we return to Him, He restores us and makes us good as new…that’s His guarantee.