It was like an exotic adventure on a reality television show. As he leaned down from the pier and helped me out of the dinghy, his dark, strong hand dwarfed my slim white one. His smile was warm, his voice deep and musical. “Welcome to paradise. Welcome to Anegada.”
Mr. Payne and I were sailing in the British Virgin Islands and had arrived at the remote island of Anegada. It’s a coral island surrounded by a huge reef. Less than one percent of the world’s sailors visit, and yet, there I was.
Climbing out of the dinghy, I noticed our host’s feet looked like he had never worn shoes. Apparently, island life had its privileges: shoes were optional. I followed his example and kicked off my sandals. The silky, white sand felt so good. However, when we ventured away from the beach pieces of rock and coral underfoot had me scrambling for my sandals. The island man kept on walking.
My host’s barefoot lifestyle came at a price. Years of abrasive textures underfoot had conditioned his feet. He was no longer sensitive to rough surfaces. Perhaps he felt it, but not enough to keep him from enjoying his beautiful island.
I want to be like his feet, sturdy and strong even though my body aches and complains. I never dreamed I’d live a life in pain, and yet, here I am. Life with chronic pain isn’t an entertaining reality show, it’s very real. But I’m determined it can still be a beautiful adventure.