I’ve put my boots on. Several times. And taken them off only to notice my immediate need for them. Some may think that boots fall short of achieving fashion forward status, but this type of fine footwear have become dear decks to me. In fact, my heart does a little leap just thinking about them.
When I was younger than what I am now, I either wore baby booties or bare feet. My frilly footwear served as comely rather than ‘becoming’ shoes. As you might surmise, crocheted slippers are not ideal for learning how to walk. My tiny bare toes and the sticky vinyl flooring needed to become fast friends in the safe sanctuary of home. With guidance and direction from those who had gone before, I developed stepping skills without being exposed to unnecessary danger that might compromise my ability to balance and walk well. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for the self-sacrifice of my past (and present) mentors. As I grew up, my walking changed. It is still changing.
My feet began to feel the effects of varying surfaces whether sand, hot pavement, rocks or dirt and sometimes it hurt. The occasional cut or injury taught me to be careful how and where I walked. I observed that it’s not that smart to walk through shards of glass. A wise walker sees a dangerous surface and doesn’t expect to come out unscathed if shoeless strides are taken. Sometimes this happens and healing is very possible.
I discovered that in my life what I really wanted was beautiful feet. Tender, responsive and soft. I learned that preventative and proactive practices are needed in order to have beautiful feet.
- Cleanliness is vital.
- A good pedicure provides professional counsel and much needed restoration of both soles and soul.
- If injured or sore, I need to check in with my medical team.
- Sometimes I just have to put my feet up. Especially when I am a bit road weary.
Orthotically speaking, I learned that my feet need attention and protection.
I deduced that people, as in me, really should wear proper footwear. This shouldn’t have been rocket science, but at one point, it was. I began to wonder about what footwear suited me. What role was for my soles?
Athletes need proper kicks. Bridal parties require bridal shoes. Surfers need zories to zip to the beach. Conversely, those in battle have a demand for boots. I had to figure out what kind of walking I was meant to do. And then I did. I suddenly knew my feet were meant for boots.
I discovered that I also had a perspective problem. Secretly, I was hoping to get away with a glass slipper or a sequined sandal. Even a Mary Jane seemed better than boots. It was time to put wedge, wader and wingtip aside and get my head around the foot of the problem.
Remembering the pain of being stepped on, I worried that boots might be harsh or unforgiving. Or worse yet, unattractive. With great relief, I came to see that while these boots may have been made for walking; they’re not for walking over anyone or just anything or for walking away.
I had to choose that my feet would remain tender, responsive and soft no matter what. Surrender, humility and attention to the pulse beating within my body (and the Body) ensures that the softheartedness I desire in my heart will transfer to my toes. It is not only impossible but ill-advised to adjust the terrain to suit my tender tootsies and so, it steps rather logically to conclude that I need to put on my boots.
With a mission to march, with, to, or alongside others in landscapes both familiar and foreign, my boots do not walk at the pace of their choosing. I need see and hear well, to focus on where and how I’m walking, not try to whimsically traipse and trip the light fantastic. Or worse yet, tramp on the track and end up trampling those around me.
I don’t just hike wherever or however my feet choose to wander. Discernment, vision and revelation determine the path and my feet respond. The lane is not necessarily linear, and at times I’ve ended up traversing the same travertine. There are lessons to learn that sometimes need repeating. Or lessons that patiently await me at the foot of the mountain I dread until I’ve hiked over desert, plain and plateau in quiet confidence. I am so thankful for God’s patience with me. His gentleness guides me to walk well where I need to, even if it’s where I dread.
Life is messy. To stop walking is not an option. Neither is standing still. This is why I need suitable steel-toes to ensure that my feet remain tender despite slush, mud, and all sorts of topographical issues. Where I am to walk, I need boots. It’s just the way it is and the way it is meant to be. I’m pretty happy about it…now that I’ve finished most of my rebelling.
I can almost hear my toes clap with glee when I put my boots on. I can feel my soul dive deep down to my soles. When I do, I remember that walking a mile in someone else’s shoes isn’t a lofty goal for my lifts; it’s fundamental and foot-wise. Kindness and truth must walk step by step. There may come a time when I need to have my boots firmly planted so that I can support someone who is struggling in quicksand and needs a hand out. It’s important to be prepared in the event that one may be directed to delve into the deep woods of life.
Sure there will be scuffs and scrapes and divots carved in these boots, but the boots can be cleaned and polished at the end of the day. They can be upgraded when they are worn out. When I need to, I can get a new pair. What I can’t replace is my feet.
You may see me dance a jig on the pathway, hum a boots-n-cats-boots-n-dogs refrain as I amble along, or march to the rhythm as I soldier on. But hopefully, you will also see that I have my boots on. I do right now. In fact, in these days, I wear them every day. On my feet, I am wearing what will prepare me to share the good news of peace.
It’s time to step up, step into our boots and trek forward together. No one said it was going to be easy. What is wonderful is that we are not meant to walk alone. And we don’t have to. So please, I invite you, not only for yourself but also for others, to lace up your lifts. Being uplifted and uplifting awaits you. Be blessed in your boots!