Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Going Barefoot

Going Barefoot

A lot of people go barefoot here. Mostly people from the deep village who can’t afford shoes. They walk into town from miles with no shoes on. You can also generally tell how well off a child’s family is by whether or not they have shoes as they walk to school. Many times though I think the kids prefer to go barefoot. I think if I could have gone barefoot to school I would have (but not in the winter, of course).

I want to go barefoot. I want to live like the people live and walk like they walk. I want to walk a mile in their shoes, or without their shoes. I’ve also been on this ‘take off your shoes because you’re on holy ground’ kick, like when Moses saw the burning bush. He probably passed the same bush a hundred times before and the ground was just normal before, but because God was there, it was then ‘holy ground’. So this week I’ve been going around barefoot and this is what I discovered.

  • People looked at me funny. They couldn’t understand why a well-off, white person, would be walking around like a poor villager.
  • I had to choose my paths carefully. I couldn’t walk just anywhere. I had to find smooth paths to walk on.
  • Things hurt my feet that otherwise wouldn’t. Pebbles, sticks, rough and hot concrete.
  • My feet were in direct contact with the ground. I felt everything. I felt the wetness of the grass and the dirt under my feet. I felt more at one with the earth.
  • At the end of the day I had dust on my feet from everywhere I’d been.

Sunrise from One Tree Hill

I’ve been here for a year and have yet to watch a sunrise from my favorite hill so this morning while it was still dark I set out to do so. I think it’s been about 10 years since I just sat and intentionally watched the sun come up over the horizon. And the last time I did it it was awe-inspiring and I vowed to do it more often. Ten years later I’m finally around to doing it again.

The air was cool this morning and the grass was wet. It takes about 25 minutes from my doorstep to the top of the hill, one mile away. I took with me my Bible and my Nalgene. There was a layer of fog surrounding the hill. I couldn’t see the top as I started to climb. There’s a new barbed wire fence about 1/3 of the way up the hill for the cattle. I scurried under it and kept going. As I began to get up out of the fog I had to remind myself not to stop to enjoy the scenery because the view from the top would be more grand, but it was tough.

Eventually I reached the peak and it was much more than I could have imagined. The fog around made it look like I was standing on an island with a sea of white clouds below me. There were other ‘islands’ rolling in and out of the fog. The sky was becoming lighter and the colors were changing minute by minute, from lavender to pink to orange to yellow. It was like a Thomas Kincade painting. It reflected off the clouds and painted the whole sky. It was an insult to even try to photograph it. This is art that can’t be captured and by trying I was only missing the real thing. I have to admit I got a little misty. And then it happened. Slowly but surely this bright orange ball peeked over the mountains and flooded the valley with light. The day had begun. It was so beautiful, like watching something being born. The miracle of life. This is how God makes every single day begin and I barely even noticed.


At 06 June, 2007, Blogger NanettePC said...

ok, this made my day. i want to see this sunrise when i visit.
umm, probably one of the reasons i'm sick - being barefoot. come on, i know peace corps trained you better than that. next you'll be drinking out of mud puddles;)

At 07 June, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 16 June, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barefoot. I hope you're not stinking them all out.


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