I was born barefoot and, God willing, I will die with bare feet.
When I read the story of God telling Moses to take off his shoes because he stands on holy ground, I said “Amen.”
As a child I felt holiness in the hopscotch I performed through southern grass in summer, making sure I didn’t step on clovers adorned with honey bees. Shoes were a weapon that diminished the survival of the bee dramatically. Once you put on shoes you no longer watched out for the bees. You would topple ant hills without a concern, and crush sticks and spiders without a care.
Being barefoot allowed you to attach a feeling to the color of green, cooling your whole body after the sprint across the hot pavement.
There was no separation between the soles of your feet and the wild earth beneath.
Once I learned the history of going barefoot, I was sold forever. I have spent the past thirty years preaching barefoot.
Because of this I know the difference in the feeling of marble floors in each season. I can appreciate the warmth of wood polished a hundred years. I relish in the plushness of chancels laid with dense red rugs. The first time I saw a piece of furniture dedicated to shoes in a holy place, I felt at home.
Though the Discalced Carmelite Nuns are mostly unknown by the world, they are present all over the globe. They are distinguished because they are discalced—unshod.
It is a holy and humbling act to remove your shoes and never put them back on.
The Nuns believe their vocation is to transform their existence into an offering. Everything else is secondary to their order.
Reading St. Teresa of Avila’s writings about the Discalced Nuns, I glimpsed at the nobility of women who took off their shoes and never put them back on as an act of remaining in God’s presence.
The invitation for people to take off their shoes when entering a sanctuary such as a temple or mosque allows them to feel closer to its holiness.
As their feet touch the floor they are grounded, better able to absorb the blessings from God.
Being barefoot is more than taking off your shoes. It is a humbling and holy act that sets you down gently on your own two feet.
PEACE AND LOVE,