Last week, I took a backpacking trip to Caines Head outside of Seward. It’s not the hardest backpacking trip I’ve done, but I took a group of almost 30 youth and adults with me, which took a little more emotional energy.
Physically though, my feet are killing me. When you backpack, you carry all your gear on your back, which puts extra wear and tear on your feet. I came home with a really gnarly blister on my littlest toe, a few tender spots where my bunions are starting to develop and a full constellation of bright red bug bites. Add in some achy knees, sore calves and general fatigue, and my body was done.
On my first night home from the trip, with gear still in my car and before I had even showered off the several layers of dirt, sweat and bug spray, I realized that I needed to water the garden. I poked around my house and discovered that I didn’t have a single pair of shoes that didn’t hurt my tender feet. So instead, I went barefoot out of necessity.
And as I stepped out on the cool evening grass, my feet felt the most relieved they had felt in several days. Something about that soft green cushion allowed my feet a gentle reprieve from the aches and pains of the day. It brought to mind God’s invitation to Moses after calling him. God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)
Sometimes the aches and pains of daily life, with all the stuff we’re carrying around, distracts us from the simple things in life.
If you haven’t lately, take off your shoes and walk on the cool evening grass, after the sun drops down a bit. Feel the blades tickle your toes. Feel the softness supporting your feet in a way that no shoe can. Feel the way your body seems to slow down a bit and settle into your younger self, remembering the simplicity of life. And allow that ground, that holy ground, that holds all other bare feet on it too, support you and give you rest.
The Rev. Meredith Harber serves as pastor to Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna. They worship at 10 a.m. in person and on Facebook Live, and 7 p.m. on Facebook Live.