The Bare Soul -
August 19, 2007
Every year about this time, my feet are in the best shape of the year. The soles feel supple, but a bit hardened from all the hot asphalt and concrete. In general, they feel strong. However, I know the weather will be changing in the weeks ahead and my feet will begin what I call the winter transition. As temperatures begin to fall, the skin will begin to contract and to not be as leathery, but may actually begin to dry out in places. Skin, when it gets colder, goes into preservation mode and contracts, not allowing as much air or moisture to interact with the the epidermal layers. Impacts of small stones and debris start to feel different, also. As the skin is more contracted, it does not have as much "give". So, rocks or small stones stepped on produce a little more sensitivity as they would during summer months. It's just part of the territory, I have surmised. Within a few weeks, however, of going through the fall time weather adjustment, my feet will have morphed into their winter adaptability to cold weather, snow, ice, or a combination of all the above, within reason of course (see my Winter Barefoot Running section to find my "limitations" regarding cold weather running.)
Change is definitely the only constant that humankind becomes so intimately associated with, yet seem so surprised oftentimes when it begins to overtake an area of our lives. We all enjoy those times and seasons of happiness and serenity -- those times when our families and friends are doing well -- those times when the kids are healthy and there seems to be enough left over for a few extras at the end of the month. However, the reality of EVERY situation in our lives is that it will change. I'm not saying that it always will change for the worse. Sometimes, it will actually get better. No matter what the situation, my love for those close to me continues to grow which is a blessing. But with that blessing comes the realization that sometimes those who are closest to me will be hurt in someway, which will profoundly hurt me. This is part of life, and part of the acceptance of love with both its blessings and pains.
As spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, or any number of other relationships we will find ourselves in throughout our lives, it is important to know that seasons will continue to come and go. Just as skin contracts in the wintertime, so too we may tend to contract and tighten up our feelings when the hard times comes. The Lord Jesus Christ died to give us "... life and to give us life more abundantly". That does not mean merely when times are going good, but he wishes to give us joy in the midst of our "wintertime", an assurance that He is with us during the snowstorms of our souls, and that the springtime of refreshment is coming as sure as the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. God most certainly wants us to rejoice in the midst of the coldness of our souls -- when we feel weeks and months away from Him and from the brightness of the new life promised by His spring.
God's presence can be felt in the blazing glory of the summer light as well as in the frigid stillness of an artic blast. It is merely the secret of learning how to accept and embrace His seasonal reasonings -- the type of reasonings that tell us that even if it does not "feel" as good as it did that sensory perception can be misleading and unreliable. That soon, we will adjust to where He is and find Him in our daily lives once again. As the Psalmist wrote: "In your presence is fullness of joy". Let us all, regardless of the season of our souls, find that place of rest and indescribable peace.
Your Blessed Barefoot Servant!
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