I am writing my journey to freedom through my memoirs “Barefoot To Shoes.”
The first 23 years of my life I resided in sunny California. Yes, sunny California, where the weather is beautiful all year round, and sandals, lightweight jackets are the norm. In contrast, I now live in the Midwest, and in this part of the country, we wear thick lined coats and boot type shoes in the winter.
Now 15 of those California years, I resided in a commune called “The Fountain of the World.” In our commune, a person wore what they were told, and apparently, they did not want us to wear the social norm. Therefore, one of the requirements happened to be “no socks, no shoes, no sandals.” So, instead of shoes, I wore tough callouses on my feet. My feet became insensitive to any surfaces, except for bees and thistles. I learned early in my barefoot life that bees hover near the ground and bare feet that step on bees will get stung and swell. Besides bees we had thistles, and those are quite painful I might add when they punch through the skin and even calloused feet. One of the living things I stepped on once was a frog! Yuck! Now that was an uncomfortable feeling!
Calloused feet grow accustomed to the surroundings, and thankfully callouses are the body’s way of protection from feeling pain. Mostly callouses were my savior except, of course, when competing with bees and thistles.
The first time I was to wear shoes was in the middle of the first grade; apparently, the school insisted their students should have shoes, and these were ballerina slipper style with thin soles. These did not bother me since they were quite stretchy and could almost feel the ground like usual. Then came the real shoes in the following school years, which constricted my feet considerably. My feet were wide, full of callouses, and use to their freedom. Therefore, finding shoes, became a chore, boy’s shoes seemed to fit my feet the best, which embarrassed me and still hurt my feet. No matter what I wore, my feet were always hot, hurt, and craving freedom. Thankfully, as high school neared, I discovered sandals and these were my go-to preference, then came tennis shoes, and never ever wear dress shoes.
I love to think out of the box with allegories so here goes. “Barefoot to Shoes” is my life before Christ walking toward the mature life of Christ. In my before Christ life, I had abandonment issues that caused me to crave protection by running away from as many situations as possible. I built a calloused heart by building strong emotional walls, hiding from many opportunities, shying away from relationships, and making fear my friend. I did not want anyone to see or hear me, and consequently, my answer to life was staying away.
I then accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. But, the laws of God felt restrictive, and His way of thinking seemed so far out, and I wanted the freedom to think my way. But just as I learned to wear shoes, I could also learn God’s form of liberty. His liberty was the freedom to live successfully, Freedom to laugh, Freedom to have relationships with no more stings in relationships and no more thistles to fear. Bees and thistles are still a part of my life, but I do not have to fear them any longer because the shoes I wear are the shoes of protection from Jesus.
I am learning to walk in Biblical principles, and know I can trust God to protect me from the bees and thistles of life, challenging to master, but well worth it.
I invite you to walk this journey with me from barefoot to shoes, pain to protect with a slice of wholeness with a cup full of joy.