Monday, May 13, 2019

To Let the Grass Tickle Your Toes

Socks can be really fun and whimsical. They-along with shoes-can keep our feet comfortable, warm, and protected. For many people, putting on socks and shoes (or sandals) is a normal ritual that is performed before stepping outside of the house. It's so typical, so routine, that we may not always be cognizant of our actions. 

Yet, what if we didn't do this every time? What if, instead of encasing our feet in layers of fabric and rubber, we stepped out with bare feet? As our flesh touches the soil, the grass, the pavement, we  feel the world that God has created. Watching where we step (to avoid walking on garbage or broken glass) we are aware of our surroundings in a whole new way. When we do not wear our shoes, we open ourselves up to the possibility of getting hurt-of stubbing a toe or walking on a rock or twig-but we also open ourselves up to a tremendous experience of God's beauty. 

We feel the squishy, moist earth caress our feet. 
We feel the slightly rough sidewalk massage our bare feet. 
We feel the prickly, soft grass tickle our toes. 

We are insulated, aren't we? In our temperature-conditioned homes, our sturdy cars, our normal circles of acquaintances, we relax in the comfort of familiarity, of safety, of predictability. Our homes, cars, and acquaintances aren't necessarily bad. They are good. They are blessings and gifts. Yet, if we only surround ourselves by that which is comfortable, we can cut ourselves off from the wider world. 
"Nor can foot feel, being shod," reflects the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. 

The luxuries that 21st century America offers are plentiful and wonderful, but if I continually keep myself comfortable, in an insulated environment, I will never be struck by the searing beauty that lingers just outside of view. It, however, I dare throw of my boots of comfort and luxury, I open my eyes to the possibility that people and events beyond my typical realm of comfort matter.

I open myself up to caring about people, situations, and causes that I may have long ignored. 
I open myself up to the possibility of being hurt in a profound and painful way. 
I open myself up to a greater beauty, to more tremendous empathy and compassion. 
I open my eyes to the reality that God's gifts are abundant in the world.  

It's easy to stay within our comfort zones. If we keep our feet tucked inside of socks and shoes, if we stay sheltered inside of our homes and normal routines, we'll likely stay cozy and safe. And yet, if we step out into the wider world-unrestricted by cars and shoes and expectations-we may experience the indescribable wonder of God's glory in other people and in the created world. 

Will you dare to step out? To feel the breeze brush your face, to notice the suffering people in your city, to observe the glory of God in the people down the street? Will you embrace the courage to let the grass tickle your toes? 

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE being barefoot - it's the epitome of summer to me, but this is a great connection to relate that to how we approach our lives and areas too!