Friday, April 9, 2010

Harder than I thought...

Seeing as I view myself as someone who doesn't wear shoes a whole awful lot, going barefoot for a day was way harder than I thought it would be.  I realized a few things:  I wear my slippers a lot.  Our house has all tiled and hardwood flooring.  We only have 1 or 2 area rugs because, well, we are messy.  In the winter we are constantly dragging in snow, the spring and fall, mud and in the summer, dirt.  So I have seen rugs as just one more thing to get dirty.  Because of this, our floors are cold almost all year long plus they are, well honestly, dirty quite frequently during the day.  I never noticed until I chose not to wear my shoes, how often I put my slippers on.  It is uncomfortable to walk on a dirty cold floor.  Not to mention the mud and rocks on the way to and from the van.  I was honestly, disturbingly uncomfortable by the end of the day wearing no shoes for most but not even all of the day.  Irritable, almost.  I was surprised at my own reaction and humbled.  I spent a good portion of the day inside working, a little outside in the driveway and nothing even touching the miles that most folks without shoes walk everyday just to get water.

I know all the well-intentioned but sometimes cliche phrases after doing something like this.  The expressions of gratitude for what you have, the compassion for those that don't, the passion for wanting to do something about it all.  And I feel and experience those things but something else as well.  Something of a hole in my heart/soul that these kinds of divides (those with and without, etc.) even exist at all.  Something of an ache, of a longing for this world to be put in such a state where those who have don't even consider keeping more than what is sufficient for themselves (myself) but give as freely as if nothing they had belonged to them alone.  And I know that this is the deep desire/longing for God.  This is feeling of separation from the Creator Himself.  This is the groaning for a reconciliation of this world that none of us can bring about with our own power.  And I am grateful.  For shoes?  Yes of course, but more so for a God who gives me (this world) a hope beyond this mess, a glimpse of life as we all see it could be from time to time.  For Love that does not change no matter how broken I (we) may be.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Going barefoot...

Thursday is TOMS shoes 3rd annual "One Day Without Shoes" event.  If you don't already know, TOMS shoes is a shoes company that is more than a shoe company.  I mean how many shoe companies do you know whose founding principle is "With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One."  Yes, you read that right.  They give away a pair of shoes for free to someone in need for every pair purchased.  As of April 2010, they have given away over 600,000 pairs!  Not like most business models taught in MBA programs today, I am sure.  A creative opportunity for those with buying power to help those without.

Anyway, Thursday April 8th is their annual campaign, not to advertise their company (although it does do that too), but to raise awareness to folks like you and me who have never known an involuntary day without shoes and who have more shoes than most people of the world have personal property, what it is like to live without shoes.  They are asking people to go barefoot for day (or an hour or ten minutes, whatever your life allows).  Ever walk on a gravel or dirt road in your bare feet?  Not so comfortable.  Go grocery shopping?  Take out the trash?  Go to school? 

Some shoe facts to consider:
Fact #1: In some developing nations, many children must walk for miles to school, clean water, and to seek medical help
Fact #2: Cuts and sores on feet can lead to infection
Fact #3: Often, children cannot attend school barefoot
Fact #4: In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil
Fact #5: Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes

Thursday, I will be going virtually barefoot as well as actually for parts of the day.  What about you?  Most of the world do not have the luxuries we take for granted everyday.  Might be good for the soul to walk a mile an another man's...well, feet I guess.

Check out their website.  Take off your shoes.  Feel the earth.  Connect to the life of someone you do not know.  Buy a pair of shoes and give a hand up.