Friday, 18 April 2014

Foot washing

So, maybe this is about Holy Thursday in a roundabout sort of way. 

 Two years after the death of my mother, I am at the stage of remembering the 'little things'. 

One of the little things was her feet. She has been a slave to fashion in her time - at a time when shoes were not the same shape as feet. Forcing her broad toes into triangular points had not done her any favours. Neither had four children and a lifetime of domestic demands added to a workspan of tasks that kept her on her feet for many hours. 

Perhaps we are a strange family, but the one thing we would argue over would be the task of 'Mum's feet'. It was a privilege - a way, that maybe we didn't understand, of saying thank you.  The laying out of an old towel on the carpet, getting the plastic washing up bowl from the kitchen, gathering the soaps and oils, scissors and - yes - even the pumice stone. The careful carriage of the steaming kettle sending the scents of lily of the valley and rosepetals into the air. The addition of a little salt,  then the sigh of contentment as the feet smoothly entered the water defying the often scalding temperature. Without a bathroom to escape to, it was probably her equivalent of 'Five minutes peace' although it often edged out to much longer than that. 

The one 'luxury' she would allow herself was the chiropodist. The thought of being 'off her feet' was too hard to face and certainly the most difficult part of the last months of her life. 

Perhaps that's why I don't have the usual issues with feet. I like feet. I like the way you can tell how the person is by how their feet are carrying them. Feet have attitude and a serious survival instinct. 

So after my mum, I thought about feet - 

the feet of my husband, bound in two pairs of socks to take the pressure off his steelcapped boots

the tiny feet of my daughter who, when she isn't working 10 hour shifts behind a bar, is carrying her baby to and fro on her back

the mega feet of my son who defies the threatened restraints of a health condition to play sport

the feet of friends who have ran, walked and cycled miles for various charities

the feet of a friend who bounces on the balls of his feet when telling a tale 

the feet of a friend who leaves for church an hour early in case he meets someone who needs a chat

the feet of my grandaughter exploring all the world can offer

so many more...

I'd wash any of their feet in gratitude of where their feet have led them and taught me. 

Jesus asks us to be servants.

Tonight we will be re-membering what he asks us.

And, in our actions, we will be thanking those who have already said 'yes'. 


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