If I had my druthers, I’d never wear shoes, but would walk barefoot all of the time. Putting on my shoes is the last thing I do before leaving the house and taking them off is the first thing I do when I walk in the door.
I especially like walking barefoot outside – whether it be on dirt or grass, or even the pavement. I love feeling the heat of the sun on the black pavement, and, although this isn’t the time of year for walking outside barefoot, I confess I took advantage of the relatively warm days we’ve been having to run out for the mail barefoot the other day. There is something about feeling the ground beneath my feet that I love – it makes me feel connected with everything around me.
Given my love for the feel of the ground beneath my feet, I was delighted to read the following passage from Brother David Steindl-Rast’s Common Sense Spiriuality. Leave it to Brother David to turn walking barefoot into sacrament:
There is only one condition for seeing life sacramentally: “Take off your shoes!” Realize that the ground on which we stand is holy ground. The act of taking off our shoes is a gesture of thanksgiving, and it is through thanksgiving that we enter into sacramental life. We shouldn’t forget the grace received in going barefoot either. Going barefoot actually helps. There is no more immediate way of getting in touch with reality than direct physical contact: to feel the difference between walking on sand, on grass, on smooth granite warmed by the sun, on the forest floor; to let the pebbles hurt us for a while; to squeeze the mud between our toes. There are so many ways of gratefully touching God’s healing power through the earth. Whenever we take off the dullness of being-used-to it, of taking things for granted, life in all its freshness touches us and we see that all life is sacramental. If we could measure our aliveness, surely it is the degree to which we are in touch with the Holy One as the inexhaustible fire in the midst of all things.
So take of your shoes and gratefully touch the ground, touching God’s healing power through the earth.