It’s been a week where my brain functions felt more like an iPod playlist than a network of neurons generating creative thoughts. Maybe you’ve had this too. Where music plays continually. The only problem is you’re the only one who can hear it. In my case it hasn’t so much been a play list as a specific song. It’s as if my shuffle got stuck in replay. And Dido’s “Sand in My Shoes” is the background music for my waking, walking, washing. Even my typing seems to be in rhythm to that tune. I must say it’s an interesting choice for my brain: I haven’t heard that song in several years; I haven’t been to the beach recently; I haven’t had a summer romance with someone I won’t see again.
So why that song at this time?
The only connection I can find is this week’s lectionary text. In it, Jesus tells the disciples to “shake the dust off your feet.” If you’re familiar with the story, you’re probably wondering how a wistful ballad about summer romance and a commissioning have anything in common. I admit, I myself have been pondering this. But I think it has something to do with what happens when we allow the sand to stay in our shoes.
Maybe it’s the number of hours I’ve spent at the beach, but I can literally feel the granules of sand stuck between my toes–cemented with sea water and sweat. It’s an unpleasant feeling to say the least. And cleaning off seashore feet and toes is no easy task. Still, as much as I loathe that feeling of sand rubbing on sun burnt skin, I love it. It starts a dreamlike memory…once upon a time when life was simpler…
So, you’re still probably wondering how this relates to the commissioning. Jesus instructs the disciples to “shake off the dust” when they have not been welcomed. It is a symbolic gesture after difficult and (seemingly) unproductive encounters. How do fond beach memories relate to that? I guess for me the point is that savoring sand in the shoes can promote living in a wishful world–I wish it were or I wish it weren’t. Neither of these is particularly helpful to today. Neither of these help us to savor the present moment. Whether weeping over the woes of yesterday or seeking to restore the perfection of the past, both don’t allow us to be in this place and this time. How else are we to discern and appreciate today with sand in our shoes?