My Day Without Shoes

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 8:45 PM


Yesterday, I spent the day without shoes.

Now, I love to be barefoot, so this probably doesn't sound like a big stretch to those of you who know me! But here's why I did it yesterday.

It's important to me to learn about the world around me, and my brothers and sisters wherever they are, and what their lives are like, and how I can serve them, if I can. Sometimes we can make a difference - even if we can't do anything physically for the poor or the oppressed in far away places - just by expanding our own worldview, and bringing our attention to the sufferings of those people. This awareness, in turn, heightens our sensitivity to perhaps less headline-worthy, but still raw, heartaches that people we pass in the street - in our own neighborhoods - are harboring every day.

Feet are funny.

I began my day at a little shop near ASU called Here On the Corner, which was hosting a little kick-off party to raise awareness for the event.

(See? Even as I go without shoes to better understand the circumstances of the less fortunate, I am on my way to a party, with free food, that I drove to in a car that I own, with gas that is readily available, with my beautiful daughter - who not only has shoes, but is in no danger of being recruited by warlords, or raped and pillaged, who will be educated and fed and clothed and loved every moment of her life.

And I paid for the parking meter, because I have money, and I made that payment on my phone, which is amazing - and I am literally overwhelmed with how privileged my life is, and it's not even 8:00 in the morning.)

It's a darling store, incidentally, with lots of local, fair trade, or charitable labels inside. I bought a bracelet made by a company who donate their proceeds to HIV and AIDS treatment in Ghana. This bracelet will pay for a month of treatment for someone.

And yes, it might be totally lame and Bono-ish to buy something like this, but every time I look at it I remember what it stands for to me. And I don't think that's lame, or pretentious.

It might be lame and pretentious that I told you all just now, though.

Except that maybe you will all go buy one too, and then it will be awesome again.

This is my bracelet.

This rough pavement did hurt my feet a little, although at the same time it felt kind of grounding and lovely to spend so much time in contact with the earth all day.

No, I did not make Iris go barefoot. To each their own, but she is three and not old enough to thoroughly understand what day it is, let alone advocate for humanitarian causes. It didn't seem worth the trouble to me, although I thought about it.

I spent most of the morning supervising a sick friend's children, so I was more aware of our breakfast crumbs on her wood floor than any major discomforts, but my piggies were still looking pretty worked over.

As one of the first people to show up at the event at Here On the Corner, I was presented with a voucher for a free 30-minute foot massage at a salon on Mill Avenue, which I was delighted to be able to use once my friend was fit to leave on her own.

Cindy treated me right, and was very gracious and accommodating about having Iris with us in the treatment room.

And there I go again, trying to put myself in someone else's shoes, as it were, and instead getting a free foot massage. My life is incredibly cushy, no matter how you slice it.

The salon's pretty green door.

I went to yoga at a friend's house that evening, and the many, many trees on their property had dropped some kind of very unpleasant sharp leaves all over the ground. This was the only point during the day where my experiment was actually painful.

But I was going to do yoga, with a group of friends, including my husband, who I love very much, so there goes my life being awesome yet again.

Maybe it was the bougainvillea?

At the end of the day, I think the thing that impressed me most deeply was the homeless gentleman, who I am told is named Robert, who was sitting in this very spot between my parking meter and Here On the Corner when I walked into the store.

I was suddenly very, very self conscious of my position as I walked, intentionally barefoot to draw attention to the plight of shoeless children in the Philippines, past a man who had no roof over his head or food to eat, right in front of me.

My new dress, luxurious leather purse, fresh haircut, and general air of health and well-being felt very heavy to me in that moment.

I can't fix everything that is unjust in the world.

No one can.

But on my way back to my car I did bring that nice man a donut, and a smile.

And I will always remember him.

Comments (3)

i love you and your awesome life. thank you again for keeping me company and tending my monkeys. my life was awesome that day too :)

Very awesome; I wish they did stuff like that here in St. George.

hehe! Reminds me of when I used to try certain things in the pitch dark - just to experience what a blind person does. :)