Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Foot Files: from Sole to Soul - Beautiful Feet.

I have ugly feet. And no, I'm not going to provide you with a photograph to substantiate that claim. You'll just have to take my word for it.
They're not the" Ripley's Believe It Or Not" type of ugly.That's a whole other level. I don't have six toes or webbing like a duck. I think medical conditions such as these could be called bizarre, strange, sad and unfortunate. Not ugly.

So what has made me categorize the foundations of my animate being as ugly? Well, there are a few reasons. First, although I am an enviable size 5.5 - 6 US, my feet are almost as wide as they are long. Giving them a rounded look. A lot like elephants feet ( a LOT like elephants feet!) Then, I have genetics to thank for my discoloured toenails. Most of them are a brownish black colour. Add to that ten years of dancing, in which I shoved my poor feet into tap shoes, jazz shoes, character shoes - all of them one size too small to look cuter. And then, I almost crippled them with pointe shoes for ballet. And last, but by no means least, in the last four years I've run a couple of marathons, lost a couple of toenails and logged some 3000kms pounding the pavement. All of this very hard on the feet.  Perhaps now you can understand why I've tagged my tootsies with such an unforgiving label. They're ugly. Period.

But here's the real irony. My feet, these two perfectly created instruments of personal human transportation, which were designed to propel me forward in this journey called life, have held me back. Way back.
 Once, many years ago, my church was doing a series on Servanthood. We all had to remove our socks and shoes and wash one anothers feet, just as Jesus had done for his disciples. No way was I having any part of that. I feigned a sudden illness and left. I've also avoided going to peoples house parties in the summer, in case I have to remove my shoes. If I do go, I spend the evening with my toes curled up underneath my feet. I keep swimming and beach type of activites to a minimum. But perhaps the time when I find myself most "de-feeted" is during those four glorious months of summer. While all my friends are parading pretty pedicures in  the seasons' strappiest sandals, my hideous hooves are not uncovered, but undercover. No opened toed shoes or flappy flip-flops for me. No fashion foot wear at all.  I do the sensible thing and wear sensible shoes. I'm sure my perspiring peds may tell you otherwise. It's depressing and definately "sole-destroying."

This morning I was sitting on the side of the bathtub, doing my weekly foot filing. A habit my sister Tricia has now instilled in me, since she once spent a few hours tenderly trying to correct my neglect."Take care of your feet Elaine"... she said.. "they have to carry you for a long time."
 There I was, filing away the dead skin and callouses, when I found myself singing a chorus that I used to sing in church many years ago."How lovely on the mountains are the feet of them, that bring good news."  I sang it over and over and over, letting the words sink into heart and "sole." Then I stopped in my tracks. I ran (as fast as my wet feet could carry me) and looked up the address of that scripture. Isaiah 52 vs 7  "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news..." Beautiful? Beautiful. I looked down at my feet. And then it hit me. My feet are beautiful. Not beautiful because of how they look, but beautiful because of what they do. I have beautiful feet.  I HAVE BEAUTIFUL FEET!!!

Every time I share my faith, share a poem, encourage a friend or help someone, then my feet have brought "Good News". Even these days, when so  much of what I do is via the computer or over the phone, my feet are bringing good news (because I still have to walk to use the computer and phone.)  Every time I run with a friend and help them along in their journey, physical or spiritual, it's good news. Every time I step out in an act of love and take a stand to promote peace, then it's good news. Good news? No, I think it's better than that... it's GREAT NEWS!!!
Oh the liberty this good news has given me. I could dance. I did dance ...on my two beautiful feet!
Now excuse me, I must go...I have beautiful things to do with my feet. And if I have time, I just might get a pedicure too! doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!

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