A Rock in My Shoe

A rock in my shoe during my frequent walks is not unusual, not infrequent, and not that welcome. The nuisance between my sock and ankle may not deserve the name “rock”. It is barely a pebble.

Rock from My Shoe

A Rock in My Shoe

Nor is it always the same foot or the same side of either foot. The irritation is not more common during a walk in the morning, at midday, or in the afternoon. And it’s certainly never the same rock.

The one pictured just happens to be the most recent.

So, what’s the big deal about a rock in my shoe? Typically, that I have spent time working my mind extra hard about whether to remove the rock or to ignore its bother. The decision-making has taken on several layers. I had reasons to remove it; I had reasons to ignore it. The reasons for one are also the reasons against the other. And vice versa.

My mind sometimes still goes through all that. More than once. It’s usually a 5-minute or 75-stride problem-solving exercise. Either way. I spend a good 5 minutes thinking more about the rock, the foot, the irritation than about the joy that every walk always brings me.

Am I willing to endure the minor discomfort of a little stone scratching inside my ankle? Do I want to interrupt my walk long enough to slip my finger between my sock and my foot and slide the rock out? How much worse am I willing to let the rubbing get? What if I can’t ease the rock out without completely removing my shoe and shaking the rock from my sock?

Getting rid of irritation

Admittedly, more often than not I remove the rock. I’m not one for putting up with discomfort, and no matter how minor, the rock is discomforting. The walk is immediately better. My mind has one less distraction. I  can focus on juniper berries in the sidewalk seams or counting breaths in time with my steps or feeling the complementary warm sunshine and cool breeze. Instead of that rock, its rub, and my foot’s awareness.

Makes me think of start of day, before work, when I have tasks that are challenging…in a not necessarily pleasant way. I can take the minutes to reach between my emotions and my schedule and find the rock, the irritation. In my mind’s eye, I watch my finger flick the pebble away, no longer bothering me. If, during my day, the irritation reappears I just see the stone flipped away or I quietly say, “No rock in my shoe!”

Being able to resist

There are times when I “ignore” the rock. Of course, I’m not really ignoring it because I let myself feel good that I’m tolerating it. There’s a sense of reward that I can put up with the distraction and so not be (totally) distracted. It is even fun to make outlandish comparisons. Walking across sharp seashells at the seashore.

This brings to mind those times when I know early the rock can’t be easily–or single-handedly–tossed away. That can be because the issue’s really disturbing or it’s a conflict requiring major attention or I’ve worked on it before but not successfully. It’s big enough that I don’t want to push the stone deeper into my sock. And there’s a part of me that encourages, “Just ride it out. Some problems take time.”

Prayer for a rock in my shoe

Good Friend God,
I am glad I know to thank you
for those tiny rocks
that find their way into my shoes
when I walk the gravel paths.
And you have my gratitude for the lessons
I’ve learned from paying attention
to the ways I can handle
a rock in my shoe.
Thank you for giving me patience and strength
to ride it out, to know the bother
is minimal, and I can wait
until the rock’s removed.
Thank you for helping me know the technique
for easing the irritation, carefully moving
it past my tension, my distraction,
then just throwing it away.
And thank you. God, for my walking
to this awareness.
And so it is! Amen!

Love & Blessings,



January 17, 2010

Posted on January 16, 2020 at 4:32 pm by Tim · Permalink
In: Authenticity, God, Gratitude, Peace, Prayer · Tagged with: , , ,