We had a debrief between the Ph.D. and Ed.D. cohorts this evening, but I wanted to save the shoes for us. I wanted to post a record of raw reflection on my experience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I wanted to share the three things that left me soul-stunned…with you. To give each experience its due regard, I will make three posts. These are the photos I took on my phone (no credit needed).
Surprise…the shoes. I arrived at this spot after weeding through a thick crowd on two previous levels. I stopped. My breath caught in my throat. I read the words on the wall, and I cried. Thoughts came slowly at first, and then I think I paused them. I paused them so I could stand there and cry.
THOUGHT #1: TIME. I stood there and in my tears flowed Isaiah 52:7.
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” — English Standard Version (ESV)
Beautiful in Isaiah 52:7 means befitting, or comely, or timely. How befitting that the feet that walked to their death in these shoes should publish — broadcast, noise abroad — the present reign of God and prophesy a future happiness and deliverance. Wow, right?! I cried and considered the list of people in what we know as the “hall of faith,” and how many died believing (See Hebrews 11:39). Time led to a second thought.
THOUGHT #2: GENERATIONS. How many generations of feet walked in these shoes? All of them are not the same. Enlarge it and see for yourself. My mind turned to the generations before me. The pattern of God in scripture is inheritance, legacy, and succession. Where have our patriarchs and matriarchs led us? Are we following? Are we wearing their shoes (or, are we building on what they left for us)? Are we wearing shoes at all (or, can we be led)? Then, I got personal.
THOUGHT #3: WHY AM I SO MOVED? Years ago I understood in a divine encounter the need to value all human life. It is both blessing and burden, to consider that all life matters (how’s that for a turn of phrase?). When I stopped to take in this view of the shoes, I saw the loss of valuable lives. I do not understand the believer in Jesus Christ, or even just a morally upright individual, who values life on a continuum of nothing to everything based on their limited view of the world. All people live at a disadvantage without the presence of these beautiful feet murdered by a tyrant.
Please look at the shoes. Share this post with the thinkers you know, and those who need to think more. Express yourself as best you can, and yield to the incompleteness of thoughts.
My thoughts are still forming; they are surface at best. Yet, I felt compelled to invite you into a sacred space for the reflection of shoes… feet… legacy… and life.
Watch your step, Beloved. Selah, and love to all.