6am – waking up this morning after a busy night with kids, cosy & warm. The alarm is waking me, but oh I don’t want to get up & start the day – especially knowing the challenge ahead, I have decided to join in #barefootcoatless with world vision, as an act of solidarity with displaced people and prayerful reflection… am hoping it will help me start lent reflecting on others, and remembering all the blessings God pours on my life…
7:10 – hot shower time! the treat of the morning, packed lunches are made, PE kit is in the tumble dryer, haven’t managed breakfast yet (girls bit complicated getting up this morn) so am hungry, and getting a bit grumpy actually at the realisation that its going to be really cold doing the school run without a coat. Think I’m nervous. Also fretting about having to drop something off at the doctors after that too (a walk I usually think nothing of) worrying about which route will be best without shoes!?
8am – Andrew is offering to drop things at the doctors instead of me, which is a relief, but am aware of myself gearing up mentally to step outside without shoes – it goes against the grain – I’m definitely outside my comfort zone!
8:30 ish – school run with T – about 8 mins walk. I feel vulnerable, checking where I put my feet much more than usual. Constant questioning from T;
‘mummy that’s silly, you have no shoes on!’
‘why have you forgotten your shoes mummy?’ – ‘its something I’ve decided to do just today to remember refugees, and pray for them’
‘mummy you’ve got no shoes on, that’s silly, I’m going to tell Mrs H!’
‘its ok T, its just a challenge I’m doing for today …. do you know T my feet are aching because they are so cold, I’m glad its not raining too.’
‘mummy you are silly, you’ve got no shoes on!’
‘I know T, its a bit strange isn’t it, but do you know I was watching something yesterday about some big brothers like A who had given their warm coats to their baby sister while she had her afternoon nap – to keep her warm. They had to keep moving and jumping about to keep warm while she slept. It was snowing where they were – I wonder if it is snowing where they are again today?’
‘mummy, you’ve got shoes, and a coat – they are at home! you are silly mummy, you’ve got no shoes on!!’ …
9:15 – walking home, bumping into our lovely neighbour also on her way home. We get chatting and as we sometimes do on a Wednesday morning she invites me in for a cuppa. Goodness all of a sudden I am aware of my wet, grubby socks… I need to take them off before I can go in. My feet are so cold!! Really appreciate being indoors again, and the hot drink – and I’ve not been out long #barefoot&coatless, not sure I want to imagine how the cold would set in if I was out all day, and not tucked up warm at night either. The thick extra socks (I’m guessing some are going without socks too for this challenge but I’m doing what I can!) are so soggy I’m not sure how to put them on again to nip back round to my house, so I don’t. Tarmac driveways are less smooth than they look – ouch!
11:50 – planning done, but I still feel cold. Going to put the kettle on, want to warm up a bit before my life lunch group … want my slippers! would that be against the spirit of the challenge?? um yes…
1:50 – interesting discussion during life lunch group, what are you doing this lent? what do we gain by giving things up? is it better to take something up or is that not the same? (I much prefer taking something up… Get too hung up on possible faliure when I give things up.) I think it’s simply another opportunity to refocus, as we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter. We all do that in different ways.
would love to know your thoughts too…
2:20 – walking down to the secondary school to lead a group, I’ve decided to change my usual route to avoid a muddy cut through – so it’s taking a little longer. Choosing the long route is taking me past the kids leaving school though, and I am feeling surprisingly self conscious without shoes! Feel almost like I shouldn’t be there, shouldn’t be seen… an uncomfortable feeling. Feel out of place, can’t imagine the feeling of being displaced – not just shoes & coat missing, but also language, sense of place, anything familiar, family, rootedness and home left behind.
2:45 -I’m arriving and choosing where to sit in the meeting. No one has commented on my feet so far, but I can’t stop thinking about how muddy and damp they must look. Still feeling out of place. Nevertheless I am leading the meeting, just finding myself wondering every now & then if my feeling out of place is visible to the group I’m sitting with.
3:45 – walking back home again, this time the short route. It’s definitely muddy, and that wet mud is cold!! There has been a lot of wind & rain here the last week or so, I’m having to step carefully around lots of bits of fallen tree branches and twigs – treading on some unaware is just reminding me that feet can hurt a lot, I’ll be more careful now.
Crossing the roads I am feeling very vulnerable, I’m not sure why, its not as if a pair of shoes is much protection from cars but it definitely feels as if I am more in danger without them. I’m wondering how vulnerable families fleeing their country must surely feel as they walk into the unknown.
4:50 – I nearly put my feet into wellies without thinking… needing to pop to the garage freezer for things for tommorrow & for tea. The ground is getting even cooler now it’s the end of the afternoon.
5:30 – Am so grateful for a kitchen, the thought that our heating will come on as needed early evening. So thankful for food and places to store it, for a cooker, for family safely round the table eating a hot meal together – for home. (yes even when the kids are cranky and grumpy because they are tired!) Grateful too for the chance to think for a minute about a Bible verse together and talk about our days.
8:50 – The dishwasher is busy, washing machine will be soon too. T is now asleep. I have just prayed with A, so just in this moment there is stillness & space. Love these moments (even when interrupted, or very fleeting) – the noise & pressure of the world seems to be put in a different perspective just for a second. And my tiny bit of it, my home, my family with God in the midst are the whole world for me in this second. It is where I am fully present right here, right now – not pulled in a hundred different directions. Amazing to think that God shares these intimate, still, heart-spaces with all who invite Him in. Personal and fully present in each of our right here, right now moments – whether warm & cosy or barefoot & coatless He longs to be in our midst. His love goes beyond my boundaries, beyond my ‘tiny whole world’ right here, even as he is fully present with me in ‘my tiny whole world’. His love meets me just where I find myself, and His love opens up my life to His whole world. All I have done today is leave my shoes and coast to one side, such an insignificant gesture – yet as always when I put myself into His hands I sense I will come away from the day changed & challenged, my love having perhaps been enlarged a little by encountering something more of His for His whole world. My compassion has been perhaps dug a little deeper than it was this morning as He has brought things to mind, to my emotions & to my cold feet!!
22:40 – B asleep too, so I’m just going to finish & post this. I’ve been so aware of the stark contrast between ‘my tiny whole world’, with its warmth, hot food, washed & dried clothes, dry comfy beds to tuck my little ones (ok, I know not so little any more!) into to get some safe sleep and the world of the #barefoot&coatless. Cold, uncomfortable, painful, vulnerable.
So I will go into day 2 of Lent asking myself what else I can do to change that huge contrast, and keep little ones like Aya in my prayers, she is only 8 & got frostbite in her feet during her long walk away from home in search of safety.