I had to purchase 4 pairs of shoes for our darling son this month.  FOUR.  You see, he has recently discovered a magic fairy tale land down by our river, just steps from our house.  His commentary on this special place of retreat?

“So Mom.  To get to our secret land you take the eternal path of joy.  It’s so beautiful and you can tame fairies along the way with fairy powder from the plants.  But you have to do par-core to get to Relaxation Island since it’s over the river.  That’s where my feet get super wet.  There’s also Shark Tooth Island and Crawdad Island.  The problem is the hyena fairies are trying to destroy the king of the ferries, SaFalla.  His wife is SaSpring.  It’s so epic Mom.  I want to go EVERY day.”  

This magic land has provided hours of entertainment for him and his little neighborhood posse of equally quirky and wonderful boys.  The problem with the river is it’s wet.  Every time they visit this river, it’s wet.  Foot sopping wet.  And the problem with our little human is his unintentional disregard for the impact water and mud and sticks and fairy dust have on his personal belongings.  Namely his feet.  And so when he rides up our street on his trusty bicycle, dripping from knee to toes, we can not find it in ourselves to bring down the hammer.  After all, he has announced that,

“Thank goodness I have finally discovered that I DO love nature after all.  All these years I thought video games were the best thing ever, but it turns out that I really DO love God’s nature.” 

Well, praise Jesus for that, even if it does mean we’ve trashed 4 pairs of shoes.  And luckily someone was genius enough to invent rain boots (for children mind you).  He’s now a proud owner of shiny blue, path of joy proof footwear.  He might not remember to wear said footwear on his jaunts to the river, but we can hope.

My money conscious husband told me to smile at the mud in this case because the mud brings unbridled joy.  It allows him freedom to create and invent and dream and connect.  If he’s focused on all those things, we can hardly expect him to give thought to what’s on his feet.  Stressing over and reprimanding him for the state of his feet diminishes the beauty of the mud and so we don’t.  We welcome the guck and keep Zappos.com alive in the process.

Where’s your path of joy?  And what’s the cost you need to endure to make darn sure you visit it often?  Because what’s living without some muddy shoes thrown into the mix?