My birthday was the day after Chandler and I arrived in Wyoming. Though we will celebrate as a family later, I celebrated by buying myself something I’ve been thinking about ever since we’ve been coming here to be with Chandler during his treatment. I got myself a pair of black cowboy boots.
Some of you will remember the Catch I wrote during our first visit about the boots I borrowed from Chandler to go riding with him that were three sizes too large for me. Each visit I’ve thought about going home with my own pair, and suddenly it seemed the right time. Besides, I wanted something to remember these trips by. Though Chandler’s memories of this place will no doubt improve over time, right now, he’s only thinking about getting out of here. Me — I’ve come to like Laramie and Wyoming in general.
I even like the name: Wyoming. It even looks good in print, and it sounds just like the wide open country it represents. Here in Laramie, the logo of the University of Wyoming — the silhouette of a cowboy on a bucking bronco, hanging onto the reins with one hand and waving his hat with another — is omnipresent. It’s on businesses, banks, carpets, street signs, sweatshirts — even on trash bins. As are the university colors, yellow and brown — pretty boring anywhere else but here, somehow with the brown dust and mud caked on SUVs and pick-ups all over town, and the bright yellow sun in the wide open sky, it works. This place is a world away from California, and even though we love the ocean and have always lived near one coast or the other, as Marti says, the sky here is liked the ocean upside down.
Until yesterday, my boots sat atop a dresser where I’m staying where I could admire them. I didn’t want to get them scuffed and dirty, and I love the smell of new leather that will soon be replaced by other less pleasant aromas. But yesterday I changed all that. I realized I couldn’t admire them forever; I had to wear them or else they wouldn’t be real. So yesterday, my boots were on the ground.
I bet you can already see where I’m going with this. Here at the Catch, we talk a lot about boots on the ground, not boots on the dresser. On the ground is where boots belong. Boots on the ground represents truth applied, faith put into practice, belief put through the rigors of life that scuff them and give them that worn look, all curled up, creased and smelly inside. But boots go somewhere. They take the Gospel of Welcome into the marketplace, and they walk alongside those who need grace turned outward.
Like the song — one of my least favorite, but with a great title — “These boots are made for walkin’,” not for stylin’ or for lookin’ at. True Christianity has nothing to do with appearances. It has everything to do with going somewhere, walking alongside, and being used of God.
We like to especially think of our MemberPartners as our “boots on the ground” marketplace Christians. They are the ones who we know for sure are acting out the gospel. They are taking what we talk about here as grace turned outward into the marketplace where it can do some good. They are buckin’ bronco Christians, getting thrown off the saddle and getting back up to do it again. Like Bare and Mellissa who must feel like their boots are getting worked over, yet they take their faith where it can do the most good, in showing hope in total contrast to their painful and questionable situation.
We’d like to honor our MemberPartners, current and new, with a Certificate of Appreciation for MemberPartners in Special Recognition As Catch Ministry Marketplace Christians. The frame-able certificate will come with a description of a marketplace Christian that will be a continual reference point for remembering why we are here and what we are called to do.
You guys are it. You are boots on the ground, bringing all that we are talking about into fruition in your important corner of the world. You are the Catch and we want to honor you. Congratulations.
Be All for one and one for all. Join our MemberPartners today.
A response from one of the people our Prayer Warriors and MemberPartners are praying for: “I cannot believe you responded to me! OMG – you are real people with real hearts – and you get it! I will return with a response to your insightful questions, but for now, I have to simply say – you are for real!”
Boots get real only when they are on the ground.