Soup, Sex, and Thankfulness for my Feet.
A slightly inappropriate blog post on thankfulness.
My toes sink deeper into the sand as the waves wash up and over my feet, circling around my ankles and drawing back again. The cold water stings, and I feel the blisters and open cuts on my heels burn a little as I step forward into the ocean. Waist deep I put the surfboard down on the water and push forward. My feet kick out behind.
They have ached lately.
They have been swollen.
They have bled.
They have walked the same area, less than a kilometre, over and over. Across the cobblestone streets, stepping over construction, crossing little bridges and through the alleyways, dodging tourists . That same kilometre, over and over.
A quick explanation of how it works: We walk to each window in the red light district, and take orders for soup from the women who work in window prostitution who would like to purchase fresh, nutritious soup. They tell us what kind and what time, and we deliver it. Simple right?
But oh, so much more complicated than that. I have story after story of hilarious moments while carrying soup to the brothels. I have learned that the description of many vegetables are easily compared to the male organ (I will never look at courgette the same), and that the Spanish word for chicken is really close to a slang word for the male organ (I was offering the wrong kind of soup until one lady kindly informed me, for which I will forever be grateful). I learned that pumpkins are the most complicated vegetable to describe, since it does not resemble anything inappropriate, but saying the word Halloween usually leads to peals of unexplained laughter, (I still don’t know why). I have seen and heard all kinds of things while selling soup in the brothels, some so funny I laugh until I cry when trying to recount them, and some so sad I can’t make the tears flow or the words come out.
I now know more about soup and sadistic sex than I ever thought possible. My taste for good soup has been fine-tuned, and my appreciation for sex that is kept safe, sacred, loving, mutual, and committed is far-higher than ever before. Suddenly, when I think about God’s design for sex, I get it more clearly, because I see what humans can do to one another when they step way out of design and way into pursuit of selfish pleasure.
Today is not the day to be sharing stories, soup secrets, or about the sacredness of sex.
Today, I am simply giving thanks for my feet, which carried me hour-after-hour back and forth delivering soup. “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (KJV). My feet have come out last from this whole project, they look awful, they still kinda hurt, and yesterday I put closed shoes on for the first time in two weeks and it was severely uncomfortable. But it is these feet that have carried me, bringing something good, something that rings of peace, something that is covered in good news.
The best way to start healing my feet is in the water, in the sea. Rinsing them from all the places they have been. Washed, fresh, clean, ready to start walking again.
We have completed for pilot phase of HOME soup, but starting again in mid-august, we will jump back in to the ongoing work of running HOME. Since I am getting all thankful for my feet, I think the biggest lesson I have learned over the last four months of piloting HOME, is that what we do is not a short-distance run. My feet, and the rest of my body, and my mind, have to be cared for with the long-term in mind. We cannot hope to see change by sprinting really well, throwing some bandages over the blisters, and putting our feet up.
Change comes in the long-distance run, it comes when we take care in what we do, making sure we are properly equipped and prepared (for example, my feet would be in much better condition if I swallowed my stubborn pride and wore practical shoes vs cute ones). It comes with living each day with excellence, not just in the things people see, but in all the details they don’t see. It is making sure each cup of soup is delicious, it is seeing every weird sex fact that you learn from someone in the brothel as insight you can store away for the long-road of walking alongside the exploited, and its taking time to rest, to swim in the sea, and to thank God for my beautiful feet.