Our Thought for Thursday quote today is from Singer and Songwriter James Taylor:
“I find it a lot healthier for me to be someplace where I can go outside in my bare feet.”
I know this is such a strange choice for today’s quote but something about it struck a cord within me that I had to take notice and question why.
The reason I suppose is twofold. One is that there is something about being outside and feeling natural elements under your feet. Springy moss, crisp grass, squishy sand, the sea. There is a stronger connection with nature that is felt when your shoes are off. As James Taylor says, ‘it is healthier’. Mind, body, spirit healthy. We often forget the importance of connecting to nature.
The other reason that the quote struck me is that there have been moments in my life where I have had the instinct to take off my shoes. Moments when I was in prayer or have felt a connection with God or my natural surroundings, or when I felt grounded or the need to feel grounded. Those moments were completely instinctual. The funny thing was I also noticed that my minister took off her shoes when she began her sermons. I never asked her about it because I didn’t think it needed an explanation. Some things can be understood without words.
The quote also made me me think of the bible passage from Exodus.
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
Holy Ground? What makes a place suddenly holy? Would the ground have been holy to someone else who happened to come along? Is the altar less holy if a layman stands on it rather than a minister? Many have said that the place with the burning bush was holy because the presence of God was there, but when is God not present? Often when I take off my shoes,I have the deep impression of Holy Ground. I humbly believe that all ground can be or ‘become’ holy. I believe that the ground is holy when Holiness is instinctively recognized by the person standing there. In their bare feet. It is in the moment we plan to come into the presence of God and it is in the moment when we didn’t plan but we are met THERE anyway. It is just before we become awestruck, when we know our connection with God is about to happen or that something is about to happen but we have not yet realized that it is God or we don’t recognize it as God but we give the experience another name. We may call what is happening a God thing or inspiration or cosmic phenomenon. I don’t know how best to explain it but we feel compelled to take off our shoes. What compells us to do it in nature, compels us to do it when we are entering God’s throne room. The taking off of our shoes is the same as the bringing our hands together in prayer or closing our eyes. We don’t know why we do it, but we do. So if the compulsion comes over you, just do it. Just take off your shoes.