For the month of October I am participating in Steps of Justice, 30 days of focused meditation, prayer and action around issues of justice.
The first day of this process was an action day- no shoes Monday. I've gone without shoes for the day, while praying for the millions of people who live on less than $2.00 a day.
For me, wearing no shoes is a bit of a novelty and not too much of a sacrifice (it's a long weekend and we're hanging out in a beach side community so we don't look too out of place). I have felt a little self conscious and a bit soft as I wince as I walk my pampered feet over a rough surface but for those in our world who can't afford shoes it causes much bigger problems.
I met a man while on a Soupbus shift who lived on the streets in Ballarat, through winter, without waterproof shoes. His poor feet were constantly wet and his health was at risk. In some environments the health risks that come from having bare feet are even more extreme. In locations where hygiene and sanitation is poor the risk of picking up a parasite that can make you very sick and even cause death is increased. Cuts and grazes on the feet are more prone to infection because they come into contact with dirt and bacteria when they are not protected.
We take wearing shoes for granted. We think shoes are about making a fashion statement and take them for granted, failing to realise that having one pair of shoes (let alone a cupboard full) is a sign of our wealth and privileged lives.
Take a few moments to be thankful for what you have and to pry or those that do not have the same access to things that we take for granted. Take it further by donating a pair (or more) of shoes to the Salvos or by investigating ways you can provide shoes for those in a developing country.
It's also not too late to join Steps of Justice for the month of October. Check it out here.http://www.stepsofjustice.org/events/october-justice-awareness-month/