Friday, June 10, 2005


I was running this evening in the hot, humid, sticky Northeastern Indiana summer and was trying to focus my mind on things other than the sweat trickling down my forehead into my eyes. I was trying to find even one thing to be happy about while my feet were thumping the cement. And here's my brilliant realization. I am thankful for my feet. Yes, brothers and sisters, this is what I contemplated this evening...this hot evening.

Having a father who had to give up running in his 40s due to his arthritic feet, I am sometimes mindful of how many good years I have left. And even when it's so, so damn hot, my wimpy three mile runs are still a source of reflection for me. I used to say that you could tell the weeks I was preaching based on how many miles I ran in the small hamlet of North Manchester.

I wrote this little ditty about my homage of sorts.

These feet have walked acres--
calloused and rubbed raw--
broken teeny tiny bones
from the strange, heavy-set girl who
tripped during a high school
Campus Life event--
and fell--
oh-so-clumsily on them.
but they carried me, painfully,
slowly, away,
so she wouldn't have to see how much it hurt.

These feet have weathered
splinters and pine needles,
they've relished fuzzy wool slippers,
and tolerated bright red toenail polish.

These feet have been kneaded,
and reflexologied.
They've been soaked in Epson salts,
and washed in Love Feasts
by tired old white-haired women
who pat them gently dry.

These feet are a bit pathetic,
the littlest toes don't really
move on their own,
the first three are all the same length.
They are a freak show of sorts.
but I know their lineage,
they come from hearty stock,
see my own feet
when I sit at the swimming hole
and watch my Aunt Patty
digging her own, identical toes in the tiny rocks.

I spend so little time appreciating them, really--
never really stopped much to thank them--
these draft-horses of my body--
for if I did, I may have to marvel at each step.

(And then I'd never get out of this damn heat.)

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