Take off those Xtratufs and learn from your feet

Take off those Xtratufs and learn from your feet

It’s officially mandal season.

  • By Samantha Walker For the Juneau Empire
  • Sunday, July 7, 2019 7:00am
  • Neighbors

It’s officially mandal season. Mandal? That’s a men’s sandal, one that reveals feet that are customarily covered. Usually it’s the sexy kind with Velcro. Alaskans have their feet stuffed into Xtratufs, work boots or dress shoes, depending on their day jobs. So those otherwise hidden feet are coming out to enjoy the sunshine in all their gnarly and rugged glory.

Generally, women give their feet more attention so as to make them more appealing. I don’t know very many men who get pedicures, but I’m sure you are out there with your pretty little tootsies! But I don’t really want to talk about grody feet. I want to talk about grody hearts, calloused hearts. We form callouses from repetitive actions.

The way we walk daily, the work of our hands, what we do every day over and over makes its mark on our body and our spirit. Feet are sensitive. Have you ever hurt your pinkie toe? Youch! Our bodies form calluses to protect us, to make sensitive parts tough. They protect us from friction and pressure. But sometimes they can get unsightly. Sometimes they can make your foot looked deformed.

Hearts are sensitive too. We work hard to protect them. We build up defense mechanisms, attitudes and thought patterns sometimes unconsciously. We get hurt and we want to make sure we will never get hurt that way again. We build up layer upon layer over the years. We avoid people, conversations or situations that we know will hurt us. We cut ourselves off from people and situations because it’s too hard, because we just can’t open ourselves and our hearts again. Our hearts can get deformed and unsightly. They can get to where they no longer work properly. We can get curmudgeonly. Have you ever met a curmudgeon? Ever wonder how they got that way?

Well it’s time to strap on your mandals! Bring those warty and corn covered callused hearts out into the sunshine. Just like how it feels good to take off your socks and shoes at the end of the day or to stick your feet in the ocean, simply taking the first step of uncovering our protected hearts will feel good.

The water might be cold and shocking at first, but soon it feels comfortable and soothing. Take off those Xtratufs and walk around in your mandals in the sunshine and see if you don’t catch some glances. See if revealing your most grody parts causes your inner most self to blossom. Isaiah 52:7 says “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…” so God finds your feet beautiful no matter what anybody else thinks.

Where do you have calluses? How has your body and spirit hardened over the years to protect you from pain? What do you avoid so you won’t get hurt? Which unsightly calluses are keeping you from putting your true self out into the world? I’m sure some hurts immediately come to mind. I’m sure some specific people come to mind for you.

Calluses take time to form. They take hard work and elbow grease to get rid of. Sometimes we purposely build them. Budding guitarists work hard to create callouses on their fingertips so that playing their instrument won’t be painful and the music will flow easier. There are good reasons to protect yourself; there are good calluses.

If our feet were completely callous free, it’d be painful to walk at all. So don’t go too deep with your pumice stone when you try to remove them. Be gentle and take your time. Get a bottle of polish and paint them a pretty color.

Take a walk with a trusted friend and show off your beautiful self in the process of healing. Wear those mandals proudly.

• Samantha Walker is a co-pastor of North Star Vineyard. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

More in Neighbors

Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. (Robert DeBerry/The Salvation Army)
Living and Growing: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Ever have to say goodbye unexpectedly? A car accident, a drug overdose,… Continue reading

Visitors look at an art exhibit by Eric and Pam Bealer at Alaska Robotics that is on display until Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society)
Neighbors briefs

Art show fundraiser features works from Alaska Folk Festival The Sitka Conservation… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski meets with Thunder Mountain High School senior Elizabeth Djajalie in March in Washington, D.C., when Djajalie was one of two Alaskans chosen as delegates for the Senate Youth Program. (Photo courtesy U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office)
Neighbors: Juneau student among four National Honor Society Scholarship Award winners

TMHS senior Elizabeth Djajalie selected from among nearly 17,000 applicants.

The 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest winning painting of an American Wigeon titled “Perusing in the Pond” by Jade Hicks, a student at Thunder Mountain High School. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
THMS student Jade Hicks wins 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest

Jade Hicks, 18, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, took top… Continue reading

(Photo courtesy of The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Neighbors: Tunic returned to the Dakhl’aweidí clan

After more than 50 years, the Wooch dakádin kéet koodás’ (Killerwhales Facing… Continue reading

A handmade ornament from a previous U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)
Neighbors briefs

Ornaments sought for 2024 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree The Alaska Region of… Continue reading

(Photo by Gina Delrosario)
Living and Growing: Divine Mercy Sunday

Part one of a two-part series

(City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Neighbors Briefs

Registration for Parks & Rec summer camps opens April 1 The City… Continue reading

Easter eggs in their celebratory stage, before figuring out what to do once people have eaten their fill. (Photo by Depositphotos via AP)
Gimme A Smile: Easter Eggs — what to do with them now?

From Little League practice to practicing being POTUS, there’s many ways to get cracking.

A fruit salad that can be adjusted to fit the foods of the season. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: A Glorious Fruit Salad for a Company Dinner

Most people don’t think of a fruit salad as a dessert. This… Continue reading