Torn boot teaches Advent lesson

December 19, 2011

Faith Outdoors

What can a punctured boot teach us about Advent? The connection was made as I listened to the sermon on Sunday at my parish, Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul.

The associate priest, Father Joe Bambenek, was talking about how we don’t have to figure out how things are all going to work out. We trust God and take one step at a time, which is what Mary did after the angel Gabriel told her she would bear a son who would be the Messiah.

Those words got me thinking about what had happened two days earlier, when I took my son, Joe, to a piece of wooded property where I had bow hunted earlier in the fall. He was home from his semester in Rome at the University of Dallas campus there. He missed the deer hunting season in Minnesota, plus our trip to Montana. I thought he might at least like to take a walk in the woods.

So, off we went. I showed him two of the stands I had set up, then we just walked around the property. We jumped two deer in the process, and I was glad he was able to at least see a deer this year.

But, things took a bad turn when my feet got caught on some barbed wire and I tore both my new Muck boots and my favorite pair of jeans.  I really like the boots and have worn them a lot since buying them at Joe’s Sporting Goods about a month and a half ago. They are comfortable, warm and waterproof. The bottom part is all rubber, the top half is neoprene. The barbed wire punctured both the rubber and neoprene.

I wondered if my boots were ruined, and went home feeling very bummed out. Then, I decided to look into repair and got on the internet to look for a product that could seal the holes and keep the boots waterproof.

To my surprise, there’s a product called Aquaseal that is designed for things like rubber boots and waders. I found out about it on the Muck boots website, and I called the company this morning to ask a few questions. Turns out it is the only product the company recommends for repairing its boots, according to the customer service rep I talked with. I also went to Cabela’s website and looked up Aquaseal product reviews. Almost all of the reviews were positive, so I plan on buying a tube soon. The stuff only costs $8, so I have very little to lose.

I distinctly remember praying that God would help me figure out what to do about my boots. I didn’t have a clue how they could be repaired — or even if they could be repaired. But, God directed me to the right product.

When I heard Father Joe’s homily, it clicked that the boot episode is a small example of how our lives go. We encounter problems that we don’t have the answer to, then we pray and God takes care of it.

Father Joe repeated Mary’s response to the angel after hearing God’s plans to make her a mother: “How can this be since I have no relations with a man?”

According to Father Joe, this was Mary’s way of saying she couldn’t figure out how this would happen. Yet, she still trusted in God and, in the end, let him take care of things.

As I listened to Father Joe, I realized I need to continually turn to God and invite him to come in and take control. So many times when I encounter problems, I look to my own thoughts and ideas and get frustrated when they don’t work. Sometimes, I sense God simply telling me, “Why don’t you ask me for help?”

In the case of my damaged boots, that’s what I did. I turned to the Lord and said, “Could you please help me figure out what to do about these boots? I don’t have a clue.”

Once again, God  heard and answered my prayer. Can’t wait to buy some Aquaseal and try it out. I also can’t help but wish there was a similar product for my soul, to seal out sin and evil. Fortunately, we have something better — a Saviour who can wash us clean and make us good as new.

And, that is something I will celebrate this Christmas!

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek