Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Soul to Sole

Yesterday I experienced the TOMS shoes One Day Without Shoes challenge. The point was to make you think about what life is like for those who don't have shoes. I really only had two thoughts. I knew my feet would get cold and dirty. It was only for 24 hours.

My feet were cold. Yesterday, it was 32 degrees in Oklahoma. First thought to myself...."I am the only one who would know if I wore shoes to my car this morning". But no...I committed myself to this and I was going to walk through it. It is only about 80 feet from the back door of my house to my car. At 5:45 a.m. it was dark, and cold, and so I ran to the car....twice. (I also forgot my phone, so I had to make the cold dark trek in duplicate.)

My feet were awkward. Hiding my bare feet under my desk at work, I worked through all my regular duties. I found myself hopping from rug to rug to carpet like I was island hopping. My exposed feet were noted as I explained my mission many times.

I bared my soul. I dedicated myself to prayer for the soles of my two little Mission of Mercy girls, Eskarlin in the Dominican Republic and Momphilo in Swaziland. On any given day, they must walk with out shoes. They bare their soles to get water, to go to school, to wash clothes, to live daily their lives. Rocks and glass, soil-based diseases and parasites are all very real threats. Trash and garbage are piled high on the corners of their neighborhoods. The have dirt floors in their houses. They have to walk over rugged rocks, or walk down muddy roads, with so much mud that it sucks you down to your knees and they don't have running water in most homes. They have to hop over sewage streams running in their streets.

Their souls are at risk. I sponsor and that helps, but prayer helps too. I spent the day praying for my daughters. My soul cried out for God to protect their feet. That God would make a way for whatever their feet would encounter. That God would make their feet swift. For protection for the "gospel feet" that they would meet. I focused on those specific needs, stepping through their normal day, as I was stepping through my normal day in prayer, my soul tied to their soles.

Shoes are essential there, just like shoes are essential here. The difference is that shoes in our world are plentiful and bought because of the designer. In their world, it's what they can afford or it's what is provided. In one world luxury rules, in the other necessity dictates. Exposure to the elements mean different things in our two worlds.

My feet got dirty. At the end of the day, I looked at the bottom of my feet and yes they were dirty. God then reminded me of my sin and how it was like the dirt on the bottom of my feet. Always present and easily picked up. We don't even know it sometimes and how important daily confession is. It was a great reminder and a greater opportunity. Yes, there were some things I needed to confess.

Soul to soul. I have empathy for those who don't have shoes. Such a simple thing in our world, makes huge difference to those who don't have. I'm also aware of the selfishness I have exhibited when buying shoes that had to be this color or that. This experience was uncomfortable, and awkward at times. My feet were exposed, bare, stripped of protection. My little bit of discomfort was worth it. I walked a day in their "shoes", lifting their soles and now I would walk a mile more.
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