“Boots and Transfusions” by Michelle Zimmerman

It’s because of Wonder Woman that I like above the knee high boots.

In my childhood, I’d look in her closet and take out her high heel shoes and boots

She let me wear them around the house with my sunglasses and in my underwear.



Those boots went well above the knee.

My legs were much shorter then.


I wanted to walk where she walked.

I wanted to know what her shoes felt like.


She knew that.


So when I got older, she tried to persuade me to pursue art.

She wanted me to be my own;

Not walk in her path because I wanted to wear her shoes.



I drew a pair of combat boots in charcoal.

A juxtaposition of the upright polished

                       and the weary beaten down

The polish and the cloth

The way the light and dark were necessary

                   to create dimension and reality

When life isn’t black and white

             but hues and shadows of grayscale


Push the contrast.


Even though I dedicated it to those who wore them,

They were for her too.


She’s fought the battle for so many hearts in her life

She’s picked up the shards and shrapnel that sounded like

distant chimes as they fell to the ground in slow motion

When the world stood still

And time raced on

                         the wings of hummingbirds

                                               ruby throated

            and gone sooner than they appeared


Even though she trained to be a nurse

She didn’t want to deal with bodily fluids

And yet, she has no fear of binding wounds


And cleaning blood off the floor that has dripped

from bleeding hearts

of children

of family

of a husband and father

of a daughter

of a son

of students

of suicidal teenagers

of adults who will never be able to give her anything in return

and didn’t even stop when her own heart bled more than she could take


it wasn’t on her strength

Her transfusion gave her life


To know a Savior bled and died

to love so deeply that when her heart bled

                 So did His

when no one else did

He rejoiced over her


When she was alone

His promise was to never leave her or abandon her


And because that blood brings life

Her heart grows stronger with every pulse, every beat,

every exchange of oxygen that brings breath and life

in every move she makes

She praises

She lives

She has joy in the middle of the times other people would curse God

Because she knows in Him she lives and moves and has her being

And with that overflow of acceptance and joy and love, she has

                 an abilty to give back more than humanly possible

                        It is no wonder she is a woman of strength

                                                                   and humility.


Because she knows who she is and whose she is.


And she doesn’t need the world to tell her.

Which is a good thing

Because they rarely even notice what she’s done for them.

And still

            She refuses to give up the fight

Because it’s not about her


It’s about honoring God with every cell in her body.

Because the times when she called and heard no answer

                                            She knew He was there.


The times she waited in silence,

                                            She still praised His Name.


Because learning early in life with a mother gone at 16 and a father gone at 21

It hurt too much to love and lose

To watch a mother struggle for breath

And a father’s heart get attacked

                 She couldn’t even cry.


But through it she saw God’s faithfulness

It wasn’t a crutch

It was a love that gave her the ability to dare

                                             to have courage

                                    to love more deeply

                                and make the choice

                knowing there would be pain


To wait for the man God had for her, but give over the desire if it wasn’t part of the plan

To dedicate children that didn’t even yet exist, to a God who loved more and was the source

Of wisdom

Because she knew, that through pain and battles for the heart, it was much more fulfilling to live for God than to try to protect herself from things that were difficult and uncomfortable.



From pre-kindergarten to adult

She’s still teaching me what it is to show and not just tell

To live and walk and not just talk.


Because it’s one thing to say

                             I love you.


It’s another completely to live it

in a way that is beyond comprehension

but at the same time grocked





Even when there is no English translation.


When I was little and she held me close


I couldn’t imagine how it could be possible for her to love any more than she did me.

And when she told me she loved Jesus more than me

I didn’t understand

Until she explained that with Jesus, she could love me more than she could on her own.


It’s what inspired me to want to love Jesus more than anything or anyone, because

I wanted to love like her someday.

I wanted to not only wear her shoes

                                  but live through walking in love the way Christ loved us first.


As I got older, I realized that it doesn’t come without a price.

She helped me understand what it meant:

in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

                                          It’s not morbid,

                                                but to fight any battle is bloody.

To fight for the heart is dangerous, complex, and is often studded with shrapnel.

Agape love is by nature, sacrificial.

                                                      Not as a martyr.


But in any interaction with humanity’s imperfections

defense mechanisms, wounds, pain, and stone cold arteries

injections, and escapes and self medication are common

                                                           Those all have side effects

                                                                                 and if not that, the backpack.


Beneficial, yes, but the wearer is often unaware

and wide swings can wipe out everything on a counter with one change in direction

                                                                                         or can lob another person off balance

when the backpack had nothing to do with the second party

and they were barely trying to keep their own balance


Because in a system of humanity, our actions are ours and impact ourselves until the end of our fist makes contact with someone else

                                      and then our action impacts and penetrates

                                                                                          like the thorns in flesh

                                                                                                                      when grasping a rose.



Some say love is a river that drowns the tender reed

Some say love is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love is a hunger with an endless aching need

She says love is a flower and Christ its only seed


She taught me that it’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance

It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance

It’s the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give

And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live


She’s challenged me.

To know realistically, you won’t always win.

But if you don’t even enter the contest

If you don’t even try

You won’t have the opportunity to learn and grow.


But when the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long

She’s taught me that there is One who has gone before me

And walked beside me all along.


Those combat boots in charcoal

and the complexities in gray

The mind and understanding and knowledge

and watching her live her life

have continued to make me want to walk where she’s walked

and wear her shoes.


When I told God I wanted to be just like her

I didn’t realize fully what I was asking.

Because to have that kind of strength, grace, beauty, humility, compassion, perseverance, knowledge, forgiveness, and loyalty


You need practice.


That means you take the road less traveled.

No, you take the road no one else wants to take.


To want to become more in the image of Christ, is to choose a complexity that you can’t understand going in, but a deeper joy and ability to live life to the fullest like nothing else.


And by that, I mean–to impact countless lives in a way that is immeasurable.


It’s a difference between living for the dot or the line.

For the moment and self

Or for something that stretches infinitely in both directions–

beyond what we are humanly capable of seeing in the moment



It often means not being understood.

It means being willing to fall and get up and keep going.

When I forget, she reminds me.


I have a memory of walking behind her on a sidewalk.

I tripped and fell and my arm and hand reached out to her in front of me

Somehow, I grasped her ankle as I fell.

She looked back, then down:

“Michelle, what are you doing down there?”


“I fell.”


She still picks me up when I fall.

She loves me too much to leave me where I am.

And that still means strongly challenging me

to not hide under a rock to avoid feeling.



Because even if I speak

with a voice of an angel

and I do not love

I am a resounding gong

If I give everything I have

to the poor and give over

my body to hardship so I

can boast

but if I do not have love

I am nothing.


Wonder Woman boots are made for walking

(and that’s just what they’ll do)

But if I do not walk in love

What good are the boots?


I wanted to walk where she walked.

I wanted to know what her shoes felt like.


As I live more, I am beginning to know more what it feels like.

And I marvel even more at her strength, grace, beauty, compassion, loyalty, perseverance, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, and self-control. 

More than all of this,

I am more amazed every year by her ability to love




For real.

Sometimes I wonder how people can’t see.

But she reminds me that it’s not for them to praise her

The only thing that truly matters is to hear

Him say:

Well done, good and faithful servant.

It’s giving something back to Him.


I realize I have a gift so few people

ever have in a mother like mine.

And even though I’m not half what she is,

I hope to be someday.


And so, I continue to follow in her footsteps.



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