Cold, rough concrete. At least it's not gravel. With each step, the contact between my soft sole and the hard pavement holds captive in my consciousness the fact that my feet are without protection. It is not long at all before I notice how tender the bottoms of my feet have gotten.
I move to the side and the texture morphs from solid, harsh pavement to a somewhat slimy mesh of earth and grass. The change in terrain does nothing to relieve me of my awareness; the unfamiliar feel combined with the puddles of rain water is too new to my senses.
I wasn't planning to participate in the event on campus, "One Day Without Shoes." A friend asked if I was going to go barefoot for it, and I said no, but when he asked, "Why not?" I couldn't really think of any good reason. Instead, I began to think of reasons why I really should. So here I am, with exposed soles.
To be honest, it's been somewhat of an inconvenience-- the grass and leaves sticking to my feet because of the cold rain, the rough pavement rubbing my feet, feeling guilty for tracking water and dirt on clean floors, and the stickiness of the not-so-clean tile floors. But the continual awareness of my exposure has been worthwhile, because my inconveniences only further prove my privileges. At least I have pavement to walk on instead of hot sand or rocky paths. At least I am in a place with tiled and carpeted floors in buildings.
The whole experience has made me think that maybe it's not such a bad thing to be inconvenienced. It reminds me of how privileged I am, it helps me better relate to those who aren't as privileged, at least in a small way. Then I think of another person who was inconvenienced for the sake of others.
Jesus inconvenienced himself. He lowered himself to living among men. Jesus exposed his soul-- to the harsh, wounding rejection of those he loves, to the pain of life away from the Presence of God. But the end result of Jesus' choice to inconvenience himself was not merely an awareness of his great privilege, or a means of relating to mankind, but rather an opportunity at freedom and a life of privilege for those who are underprivileged and oppressed by Satan's loveless reign.