Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Of Shoes and Earth

Shoes removed for the Luminous Lodge Retreat
(Photo by Lisa Rose, OSB)
Putting our sandals away as summer and fall are leaving us, we take out our winter shoes and snow boots to prepare for winter.
Allegorically, in the scriptures, “shoes” also refers to “our path,” “our journey” in life.
Exodus 12:11 says: “…You are to be dressed for travel with your sandals on your feet.” Paul, Eph. 14-15 says, “So stand ready with truth as a belt, righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes a readiness to announce the Good News of peace.:
Some years back, while visiting a Trappestine Monastery, I participated in their daily walking meditation outside, all with bare feet.
Shortly, after coming home, I dreamt that I lost my shoes and after looking all over, I did not find them.
The experience I had with the Trappestines had something to tell me about my journey. What could it be? What does “having lost my shoes” tell me now? Is it trying to tell me something about my walk in life, my vocation here and now?
As I was focusing on the dirt below my bare feet, I came closer to the meaning. Am I too focused on my ministry and not enough on nature and the earth below my bare feet? Am I taking enough time enjoying the outdoors to be nourished by it? How can I help to take better care of the earth? Is God telling me to trust the soul of my heart and the gut more?
Thich Nhat Hanh, the author of Peace in Every Step, invites us to a gentle bare foot walk on the dirt and, in doing so, to imagine your toes as kissing the earth below. Do that gently with each step, left, right, left, right. This felt like a truth I was meant to learn. While taking my ministry seriously, I need to stay close to the “earth.”
While on Mount Sinai, God told Moses to take off his shoes for the soil he was standing on was Holy Ground.
Margaret Mandernach, OSB

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