Social activist and author Shane Claiborne had the fortune of doing a placement for 10-weeks alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta. In most parts of India, it is a customary for people to remove their shoes when entering any place of worship. Shane noticed that when Mother Teresa took off her shoes for daily prayer, her feet were knobby, gnarled, deformed and pressed in the wrong directions. Shane wondered whether it was a birth defect, the result from an accident, the side effects of a disease or illness or perhaps due to leprosy. Eventually one of the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity explained to him why her feet were so deformed.
Mother Teresa and her sisters relied on donations for everything, including their shoes. They received donations of used shoes once in a while for distribution among the needy. When a load of used shoes would come in, Mother Teresa would dig through the pile of shoes and consistently chose the worst pair for herself regardless of how badly they may have fitted. Over the years, her feet deteriorated by wearing substandard shoes. In essence, she crippled herself by showing love and compassion to those that had nothing.
Mother Teresa loved the needy so much that she wanted them to have the best of the worst and not the worst.
Reflection Question: Do you know someone who has gone “above and beyond” to show kindness to you? Have you ever experienced the joy of going out of the way to show kindness to someone else?