Most of it is already gone anyway, but the thought of washing the rest of it off just breaks my heart. I should probably be a little embarrassed walking around in public with dirty shoes. It’s just that it’s not any kind of dirt.
They didn’t get these marks from mowing the lawn or playing around down at the park. Most of this mud came from the construction site of a house for a family in Haiti who’ll finally be moving out of the tent they’ve lived in for so long. And some of it came from the three-quarters of a mile walk (each way) up and down the rocky mountainside made by people every day to get a few gallons of clean water. There may even be a smudge or two from walking through the Petionville Tent City, which is still home to some 30,000 people two years after the earthquake.
These are the marks of walking with some dear Haitian brothers and sisters in the places they walk every day.
Am I embarrassed by this bit of dirt on my shoes? No way. It helps me remember a time and place that has special meaning to me.
One friend calls them “soul smudges”. I like that. I like it a lot.
I’m sure that as time goes on, the simple act of walking through life will cause these smudges to slowly disappear. A couple walks in the rain, a few steps in some puddles, and some incidental rubbing on the hem of my jeans will each take a little bit of the mud away. Eventually it will all be gone.
That’s how it works, doesn’t it?
Life just happens, and causes the smudges to slowly fade.
It’s just that these smudges, these soul smudges, are significant. Lord, even when the marks are no longer visible on the outside, may my heart never forget where these feet have walked.