Identity, Living, Spirituality

Loosen the Straps of Your Sandals

It all started with sandals.

The weather is warming up and my feet are already revolting against socks.  I pulled on my new pair with jeans this morning as I scrambled to get the kids to the bus stop on time.  There was a cool breeze and dew on the grass, but as the youngest and I drove home from the grocery store an hour or so later, the weather was ripe enough to open the sunroof and windows.

I wiggled my toes and was reminded of another pair of sandals I had long ago that walked the streets of Rome with me.

And I thought, it was these same feet that trod those distant roads.  The same feet that kicked in my mother’s womb; that padded the extra weight of my own babies around.  That hiked mountains and sunk in the sand of the ocean.  That have worn grooves in the floors of my house; climbed into airplanes and sailed around the world; walked into friends’ homes and down church aisles all over for all manner of reasons.

The world suddenly felt so accessible and so expansive all at the same time.

In an age when air travel and online communications make it possible to journey to distant lands in the virtual blink of an eye, it’s easy to think that we humans have seen it all, done it all, orchestrate it all.  And these technologies do make the interconnectedness of the world ever more possible and ever more valued.

But when I think how these lowly feet of mine are what carried me all those miles, yet left only dusty footprints to be blown away in the wind, I realize I cannot let the world revolve around me.


Image from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Maybe it’s our strong predisposition to self-preservation, but we humans tend to think each one of us is the center of the universe.  Indeed, our experience is based in this ever-changing, evolving, highly sensory vessel called the human body.  Only inhabiting the one, it makes sense that the one serves as command central.  But we’re not the only one.

Today I was able to get out of my own head.  I was able to see the globe as it turned and all the distinct individuals on it.  I was able to get up above it and not be buried in my own little corner of it.

I can’t walk in anyone else’s shoes, but I can try to remember that I do not journey alone.  And the steps of today are only part of the journey.  Of mine, of the whole universe’s.

Things much bigger than me are at work.  I only need wiggle my toes to remember.


3 thoughts on “Loosen the Straps of Your Sandals

    • Jennifer Butler Basile says:

      I was surprised by the clarity of the epiphany – and how it was triggered by such a simple thing. i guess that’s the point. We need to be open to embracing them wherever, whenever, and from whatever they come.

      Thank you for your kind words.


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