As I went through my morning routines today that include prayer, stretching, and then emails and social media (in that order!) I couldn’t help but see the irony of what I read and saw. I read all about Jesus washing the feet of His disciples, stretched into a forward fold and touched my feet, and then read many a post about being in desperate need of a pedicure. Hmmmm…
I’m right there with you nail biters as my feet are not in their best visual shape, but I’m pretty sure what we all need right now way more than “pick color” is “chose Jesus.”
Can you even imagine Jesus washing your feet? The closest I’ve come is during a retreat many years ago during which priests washed the feet of all retreat attendees. I wasn’t aware it was going to occur, so when it did I was in total awe. All these years later I still remember it and it still moves me.
Today on Holy Thursday we celebrate the washing of feet as well as the Last Supper. Not only do we learn that Jesus humbled Himself, bent down, and washed feet, we also learn about the Eucharist during the Last Supper. So, not only do we get the gift of water, but of the blessed water and wine as well. If this isn’t a “give us this day our daily bread” moment I don’t know what is. “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving” and the institution of it is celebrated and re-enacted during every Catholic mass. I for one am very thankful for being called to it.
I’m also thankful for and think back to all those glorious massages I’ve gotten and how amazing it feels when a masseuse rubs my feet. Feet are formidable. They give you stability and balance, grip and strength as you walk and run, and they serve as your body’s shock absorbers. One quarter of all the bones in a human body are in the feet and each foot has more than 7,000 nerve endings; 26 bones; 33 joints; and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. If your feet ache or are out of alignment, you can bet your whole body will be too.
I’m also grateful for the many pedicures I’ve gotten in the past as I’ve always considered them such a luxury. Who would really choose to work on feet? I know many people who say “I don’t do feet” and swear they’d take care of me in my dying days but would never do my feet or my toes. I’m having to do just that as of late. My daughter is having a toe/toe nail issue and I’ve had to be Dr. Carla in cleaning and wrapping it. It looks like she’s going to the nail, it bleeds every now and then, and I gotta say it’s not my favorite thing to do. But, if Jesus could do feet, so can I and so can all of us. In fact, St. Ambrose tells us that “where Adam stumbled, Jesus decided to wash.” We all need to reach out to others and reach to those places of degradation and shame.
Today’s washing of the feet isn’t the only time we hear of the concept of tending to feet. Mere days ago and six days before Passover, we learned that Jesus went to Bethany and visited the home of Lazarus, who He had raised from the dead. There, Mary of Bethany took a liter of expensive and precious perfumed oil and anointed His feet with it. She was criticized by Judas the Iscariot, who famously betrayed Jesus, who shamefully questioned Mary on why she would waste it rather than sell it.
My feet have been on my mind quite a bit lately, as I’ve been walking way more than I did mere months ago. Every day I go out and walk the neighborhood, focusing on our dogs, our “homebound” adult daughter walking beside me, and sunny days. Maybe I should also focus on my actual feet and rather than care that the polish on my toes is long gone, be grateful for them and pray for all those pedicure businesses that are currently closed.
So on this day of foot washing and blessed meal sharing, let’s all try to focus on being grateful, humble, and true cleansing. Feed each other love, smell the fragrance of perfumed oil that heaven spreads, wash away our egos, and walk with joy on feet we are so blessed to have.