10 Days Without Shoes
My lungs are burning as I reach the mid-point of the hill. As the rising left-hand turn continues to stretch out in front of me, I begin to hear a subtle voice deep inside my muscles whispering, “GIVE UP! It’s too high and you’re too tired!” But I refuse to give up and I continue pedaling my bike up the hill. After all, it’s only another quarter mile until I’m home, and walking barefoot on the burning asphalt isn’t really an option. Well it is, but I don’t want to do it.
I’ve ridden this route many times traveling too and from work. In the morning the ride is easy because most of the journey is downhill. Of course, that means the ride home is uphill and both difficult and tiring. But I don’t mind much. After a long day in the office, a grueling bike ride allows me to blow off steam and settle my mind before I get home.
But this week, the ride has been more difficult than normal. Riding a bicycle without shoes on is painful and seems much slower. The little plastic pegs that help shoes grip the pedals are sharp and penetrating to bare feet. I tried to tape the pedals, but the pegs continue to rip through the bright blue barrier (sexy I know, but it was the only tape I had access to). As I push down trying to propel my bike forward, the sharp black pegs dig deeper into my skin.
I finally crown the top of the hill, and coast down to a red light. Several sprinklers from a local business are spraying water into the air. Unfortunately for the grass, the wind is blowing the mist away from where it’s needed most and onto the sidewalk. As I look ahead, I notice the crosswalk button is situated right in the middle of the spray. As I pull into the mist, my body relaxes. The cool water is refreshing, and as the light turns green for me to go home I consider waiting for the next green light (there’s always another green light). Pushing forward across the intersection, I glide down the street and up to my driveway — glad to be home and to be done with 10 Days Without Shoes.
10 Days Without Shoes is over. I wish I could say that I came to some amazing revelation during this segment, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned doesn’t seem very paradigm shifting — at least not yet. As I sit here thinking about the past 10 days, my mind is still stuck on this idea of rhythms. You might be tired of hearing about the rhythm of my life, but I can’t get that idea out of my mind. This is why.
Over the past several days, Colorado has been under attack by wild-fires. Literally, on my way home yesterday it looked like I was driving in thick fog as ash and smoke surrounded my car. An unsettling haze covered the entire city with a very eery orange color. If you’ve ever seen a movie about the end of the world, we were literally experiencing similar conditions. As my wife and I watched the news, the anchors and reporters kept mentioning this thing called a “reverse 911 call”. Basically, 911 calls you to let you know you are under a mandatory evacuation, and that you need to get out of your house.
I can’t stop thinking about what it would be like to get a reverse 911 call at 1:30 AM. It would be such an intense situation. Think about how serious it would be if a phone call woke you up in the middle of the night and the automated voice told you to get out of your house as soon as possible. Would you take it seriously? Think about what the consequences could be if you ignored the call. For me, if I ignored the reverse 911 call, I’m not only putting myself at risk — but also my wife, my boys, and the firefighters who would still try to save my stubborn self.
We are surrounded by wake-up calls. Organizations like Plant with Purpose, Compassion, Living Water, Shuzz, Sole Hope and many others exist to fight poverty in the world, and they are trying to get our attention. Unfortunately, we often ignore these wake-up calls, or worse we get the call, begin to serve others, and then go back into the rhythms of our lives. This means that a wake-up call isn’t enough — we have to break our rhythm.
Walking around barefoot for 10 days has begun to break my rhythm. For the past week and a half I’ve been thinking about poverty almost constantly, and my heart wants to make a difference.
Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is, literally. I’ve been talking about different organizations that fight poverty, but talk is free. It’s time to commit. Today, my wife and I have decided to partner with Compassion and sponsor two kids. Compassion is amazing because it does a lot more than just give children food. It releases children from physical, educational, emotional, and spiritual poverty in Jesus’ name.
My wife and I are going to sponsor one kid for each of our boys. We are excited about the way Compassion works, because we can search for a kid who has the same birthday as our boys. Both of our sons are getting ready to celebrate their birthdays, and this year we are giving our boys a child to sponsor as a part of the celebration.
What about you? What are you going to do?
A friend of mine told me the other day that he doesn’t know why he’s doing 10 Days Without Shoes. I told him that I don’t know why he’s doing it either. It’s up to him just like it’s up to you. Going without shoes breaks up the rhythm of my day and helps me begin living for something bigger than myself. Hopefully, walking around barefoot for 10 days can help you make a difference too, but only if you take the next step and actually do something.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child, I know a guy who can help you do that. If you are interested in one of the other organizations mentioned — I know people there too. Comment below with what you want to do, and I will help you connect with the right organization.
We can all make a dent in poverty, but that still means we have to do something! Today is your chance to move from apathy to compassionate action.
Comment below with the organization you are connecting with today…
Side note: This is how I think change works:
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