One of my favorite movies of all time is Australia. I saw it on the big screen three times, then we bought our own copy. Now one of our traditions is to watch it once a year, usually around Christmas. Last week, on a cozy winter’s night we curled up on the couch to watch this favorite.
Australia has a little bit of everything: Incredible drama, war, jealousy, revenge, hatred, prejudice and fear. It also has love, tenderness, longing to belong and longing to know who you really are. I was brought up with Westerns so that explains why I even get goose bumps all over during the incredible cattle stampede.
The story centers on the relationship of Nullah, a little Aboriginal boy, and a British woman, Lady Sarah Ashley. Lady Sarah arrives from England and discovers that her husband has been murdered on his ranch, Far Away Downs. To save the ranch, they have to “drove” 1500 head of cattle to the port.
It’s on the ranch that she meets Nullah and his mother. After Nullah’s mother dies, Lady Sarah is thrust into being a surrogate mother. A woman with no experience with children discovers a love she’d never known: the love of a mother and child.
This British woman who now regards this little Aborigine as an adopted son tends to dress him in typical British boy clothing. Although Nullah has everything he could possibly want in his new family, he knows something is missing. He doesn’t understand who he really is.
You see, Nullah is a mixed-race aboriginal child. One time he says, “I not white fella. I not black fella. I half-cast. I belong to nobody.” He longs for that missing piece to be found and he knows that missing piece can only be found in going Walkabout with his Aboriginal grandfather.
At the end of the movie, much to Lady Sarah’s dismay, he reconnects with his grandfather to go on this journey of discovering who he really is. This time of Walkabout will be where he will find his identity as he uncovers his traditional and spiritual roots.
The British clothes he’d now become accustomed to wearing, wouldn’t work for the nomadic wanderings in the wilderness with his grandfather. They would restrict the freedom needed for this journey. He has to shed what will weigh him down before he goes to the Outback. He sheds his shirt and then, in a moment of true abandon, he throws off his shoes. He went into the wilderness bare-footed.
Four years ago my daughter gave me a book “The Greatest Gift-Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas” by Ann Voskamp. Now each December I use this book for my Advent reading. I just read: “Walk barefoot a bit through your last days of Advent.”
In the margin of that page where I saw those words I wrote the question : What does this really mean for me? How can I do this? I so desire to shed those things that can keep me from experiencing the spiritual treasures that God longs to give me in the days leading up to Christmas. Here’s what I’m working on shedding:
- I’m shedding myself of any kind of performance trap or comparison trap
- Shedding perfectionistic tendencies that drive me to “gotta go and get, gotta go and do, gotta, gotta gotta” This drains me and means there is no time to be present in stillness with God and no quality time in being present with my precious family and friends.
- Shedding burdens and expectations so I can enjoy the what “is” and the great “Who IS”
The amazing thing is that these are riddances that God desires for me. I won’t rid myself perfectly of them, but God is with me along the way. His Son, His Spirit are cheering me on and I’m experiencing some of the best peace I’ve ever known.
How about you? How can you walk barefoot these last days of Advent? Remember, you just might be walking on holy ground, such a good place to land.