The other evening, I was sitting in my P.J.’s in my chair and I happened to glance down at my feet and noticed my bedroom slippers. That got me to thinking about bedroom slippers. Who invented them? How many people in the world wear them? And why? This reflection grew out of those questions.
First, what is a bedroom slipper or just plain slipper? It is a light shoe, often heelless and backless, easy to put on and take off, and intended for indoor use. The first recorded reference to slippers comes from 12th Century Vietnam. In the East, the slipper was often a symbol of captivity. Concubines were forced to wear them to prevent them from escaping their bondage. The slippers were so thin, they would impede a captive’s attempt to run over the rocky terrain.
A few other facts about slippers:
* Many Eastern countries have the tradition of removing your shoes when entering a house—out of respect for the house. The host and hostess usually provide slippers for their guests to wear.
* Slippers can be stylish. Prince Albert slippers (named after Queen Victoria’s husband) were worn for formal affairs. Up until the mid-20th Century, the Pope wore red slippers. Over time those red slippers evolved into red shoes. But Pope Francis did away with those red shoes, preferring to wear ordinary shoes instead.
* Slippers can be fun and fanciful too. My current pair are colorfully striped: pink, white, orange, and green. (I got them at the Dollar Store for a couple of bucks. They are not pictured here.) But some slippers are far more fanciful than mine. They are made in the shape of animals, animal paws, or even cartoon characters.
* We all know the story of Cinderella and her glass slipper. But some fairy tale experts say the word glass is an incorrect translation. Her slipper was really made of gold or even fur. Cinderella’s slippers were not bedroom slippers, of course, but high-heeled slippers made for dancing with a prince.
* Judy Garland had at least four pairs of ruby slippers for the movie The Wizard of Oz. One pair is on display in the Smithsonian. I know. I saw them! Another pair sold for over 2 million dollars in 2012.
* Did you know we now have heat-able bedroom slippers? Some are powered by lithium batteries. Others you just pop into the microwave.
* The most expensive bedroom slippers I saw on-line were made by Gucci for $695.
An Ode to My Bedroom Slippers:
Bedroom slippers… you were once a symbol of captivity, but now you are a symbol of freedom, comfort, and relaxation.
Bedroom slippers… you are the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I take off before crawling into bed. You begin and end my day with me.
Bedroom slippers… you aren’t much to look at, but you’re extremely comfortable to wear.
Bedroom slippers… you’ve adapted yourselves to the shape of my feet… you accommodate my bunion… you are gentle with a bruised toe… you soothe a calloused heel. You accept me for who I am and don’t try to mold me to some rigid form.
Bedroom slippers… you provide comfort and warmth. Sometimes I take you for granted, but I want you to know that I really do appreciate you. In many ways, you are like an old faithful friend.
Do you wear bedroom slippers? Why or why not?
What are some of your thoughts about bedroom slippers or your experiences with them?
(I didn’t find a religious song about bedroom slippers. Sorry. But I did find a song that is simple and relaxing. It is based on Psalm 41 and is called “As a Deer.” I find this song very comforting. I hope you do too.)
What did you think of the song? Do you have any thoughts to share today? I’d love to hear from you!
PS: I’m on retreat this week and I’m remembering you all in special prayer. Thanks again for reading my blog!
I love how you spiritualize everyday things, like your Mom’s apron your Dad’s lunch box, and your slippers. It has made me look at things around in a more spiritual way. As we know – everything around us reflect God. I have a pair of MSU slippers and every time I put them on I pray that they start winning. Thanks Melanie.
Good one Sr. Melannie!
Yes, I wear bedroom slippers. I have to keep track of them because my dog Ernie often steals them and wants to make a game of getting them back. Thanks for the whimsical reflection on slippers. God blesses us in so many ways through ordinary things.
Yes, I love my bedroom slippers! The slippers were actually a tremendous help and comfort to me when several years ago I fractured my pinky toe and wore my slippers to work every day until I healed enough to wear shoes! I must admit I do have several styles and colors as well.
Yes, I wear slippers – Minnetonka moccasins with soft lining. I had an identical pair given to me by my now deceased sister, but I stepped in some dog poop outside my front door and had to throw them away and fortunately was able to get another pair. My feet say “ahh…” when I put them on. My mother would never let us go bare foot, and we always had slippers. Sometimes new ones were under the Christmas tree. Not the favorite gift! It did become a habit. Thanks for your wonderful posts and have a good retreat.
Listening and watching the images of this song brought tears to my eyes and made me think of our youngest daughter’s college roommate. Marla was – and is – like that deer that pants for running water and longs to worship Him. He alone is her hearts desire, her strength and her shield and the Lord sent her a husband who shares that desire. How blessed they are and how blessed are we to know them.
I’ve been thinking a lot about slippers the last couple of months. I need a new pair and of course, I’m looking for the perfect pair. The inside has to be soft lambs wool, good arch support, no back so I can slip them on and off (I have hot, claustrophobic feet and live in south Texas). But I’m always looking for ‘the perfect’ even knowing I’ll never find it, especially in myself. Pursuing the perfect means I often miss what what is perfectly available to me, what God is offering me, but I don’t see it because I’m so busy looking for ‘perfect.’ Perhaps I need to remove my glasses from time to time so I can ‘see.’
The song is special – beautiful words and beautiful images of a loving Jesus. Yes, I have bedroom slippers … toe-less with wide Velcro straps to keep them from falling off. I’m diabetic and have had infections in toes, so require sandals and toe-less slippers. They’re great! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on so many diverse subjects, Sr. Melannie. Have a blessed and fruitful retreat! God bless.
I wonder if anyone else ever googled “spiritual song about slippers” before you did! Thanks for helping me live in the moment by being aware of the spiritual nature of everyday things. Take care and God bless you.
Loved the song. Have not worn bedroom slippers in years; your reflection made me grateful for anything that warms my feet!
The song was beautiful with a lot of meaning. For us to know that Jesus is Our Brother, is a wonderful Blessing for all of us.
I just loved this reflection. I too am on a sort of retreat…a couple of weeks in a little hermitage. So, thinking of you too. I got a warm and cozy feeling just reading about slippers. Would have never thought of using them for meditation but I guess we can find God’s loving spirit and presences in every little ordinary thing. Thanks for adding to my quiet ordinary day today.
Sr. Melannie, I love my slippers and like you I wear them when I crawl out of bed in the morning and remove them when I’m about to cuddle up into the bed in the evening. I have found that Isotoner slippers are the best for me. They are a bit more expensive than the Dollar Store variety, but they provide wonderful support, and are washable. I like the ones that are open at the toes, otherwise my feet get too hot. I always pack my slippers when travelling, I bet you do as well. Thanks for the always enjoyable message and song. Hope your retreat is blessed.
Yes, slippers are a must for me. Mine are mules in a moccasin material and have adapted perfectly to my feet (so much so that even though they are not handed, I can tell immediately if I have them on the “wrong” foot). They do not go outside but have had their share of cat barf and slopped food on them. But I just pop them in the washer and they perk right back up. Hmmm, is it a metaphor for our spiritual life? When you feel you’ve been barfed on, let God wash it clean?
You never cease to amaze me. I too love how you can write about the most mundane things and yet make me smile and even laugh out loud. I have my moms terrible bunion, hammer toe, neuropathy feet, and have yet to find the perfect pair of slippers but am greatful that is my biggest health issue.
Remembering you in prayer also while you are on retreat.
Dear Sister Melannie, Your reflection brought back a beautiful memory, and I thank you for that.
About five years ago, as my husband and I were leaving for a doctor’s appointment, I left my slippers by the back door like I usually do.
Well, let’s just say that my doctor didn’t like what she found that day, and I didn’t return home until nineteen days later from the hospital.
But seeing my slippers, where I had left them, welcomed and comforted me in a way that I knew I was truly home, and all was well.
God bless you always. Joanne
I wore my father’s bedroom slippers for a number of years after he died. I found that to be a comforting way to follow in his footsteps.
Did you know that Judy Garland’s ruby slippers have lost their luster and the Smithsonian has mounted a campaign to restore them to their original beauty? The campaign’s goal: $300,000! That could buy a lot of slippers for those who cannot afford them.
Thank you, Sister.
I love the simplicity of your bedroom slippers story. I, too, wear bedroom slippers – from putting them on first thing out of bed to the last act before turning in. My slippers now take on a new meaning after reading your words. As a recent retiree, I have learned God is teaching me lessons each day of retirement – and usually about the simple gifts in our lives. The bedroom slippers story is today’s lesson and yet another gift in my life.
I’m going to go put on my slippers right now with a whole new appreciation for them! Thanks!
I wear my bedroom slippers every chance I get!
My slippers are fuzzy, lined Crocs. During the cold months, like now, I wear them around the house all day. They are comfortable and have good support. I love wearing my slippers. (When I go out I change into regular shoes.)
I mostly like to wear slippers, indoor. Slippers are very comfortable and cozy shoes. Bedroom slippers like you have mentioned is very amazing. I like to get it one for my baby. Great post you have written.