Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A very dear friend of mine retired from her career this week. We had the celebration of her legacy yesterday at work.
It was lovely and practically perfect.
We asked for friends and current/previous coworkers to write words of gratitude to her and compiled them together into a booklet.
I was so honored to be the recipient of the messages and to collect them into this booklet. The common threads and beautifully captured words reminded me of the good in the world and the deep need there is for good.
The impact ONE can make in this world is profound!
So often we feel like that one step, then the next, and the next simply goes unnoticed and is seemingly unremarkable.
But what we find is, after many of those collective steps, we can look back and see how far we have come. We can see who we have walked along the way with and how the steps changed trajectory, changed the supposed outcome, often for the better.
One of the writings received for her booklet had the above quote beautifully penned by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. When I first read the quote – and basically every time I did – it brought up deep feelings of connection, inspiration and a soul-deep yearning to be the one with my shoes off basking in the warmth and light of God… of God’s miraculous presence and overwhelming love.
The writers – Colonels Johnson – referred to my friend as one who takes her shoes off. They continued on to say, “You, dear friend, have helped people to discover the bush afire with God! You’ve shared holy conversation, holy guidance and wisdom, and holy direction”.
Does that not make you want to take your shoes off? Do you not feel the soul-deep desire to be so touched by God’s splendor that you must humble yourself and see Him in everything…
even the blackberries?
Let us take a moment…
take off our shoes…
kneel before Him, and read and pray…
O nations of the world, recognize the Lord, recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:28-34 NLT
I am blessed to have a soul friendship with Jan McMahon. She is one who has taken her shoes off and has inspired others to also go barefoot and seek the bush afire.