Scenes From A Foot Washing

We are into our eighth year of our family gathering for a Last Supper service the Thursday before Easter. In it we have communion with bread and wine, and Luke washes our feet.

My preparations for our little feast began a while ago, but didn’t start with the bread. I was thinking about my feet. The last year has been difficult for them, inside and out. Over last summer I developed what we thought was plantar fasciitis in my left foot, and began targeting the pain with massage, ice, a tight sock, and new running shoes that had extremely high arch support. Unfortunately, even though the shoes were good for my heel, they quickly became a nemesis for my big toe nails, as they were a tighter fit than any pairs I had worn in the past. It was love versus duty putting them on each day, thinking this was what was best but not being very happy about it ( much like my compression hose! ). I thought I would eventually need to see a foot doctor, to confirm the pf, and probably to remove my big toe nails, as they were a sorry lot. It didn’t seem right to do this during pregnancy; I didn’t feel like dealing with it yet.

Long about last month, I noticed the nail on my right foot wasn’t hurting anymore. Woo hoo! Maybe I could get over this on my own after all. Then a few weeks ago, I realized that my left nail wasn’t bothering me anymore either. But my right was looking like it was going to fall off; it was halfway there. That must be the ultimate price I pay to doctor my plantar fasciitis at home. We’ll have to see.

So last week, I’m looking at my feet and thinking about the upcoming foot washing. How did they look? Actually, they looked better than they had all year, but I toyed with the idea of painting the nails to hide the half dead one. Then nobody would notice, especially Luke. I ended up just going into it au naturale, and got no comments from him. It was dark, which helped.

The darkness is because we lay a spread of bread, wine, and a candle on a low table, and turn out the lights. This helps some with littles and their wiggles. While they are excited at this strange event, they are also wanting to tune in to see what is going to happen, so mostly sit still. Elijah and Julia’s act this year included a minion like ‘step towards the candle flame and see how close you can get before a parent or grandma or sibling grabs you’.

Also noted were the conversations around the circle that had nothing to do with anything, jabbing at elbows, and giggles when their feet got wet. Elijah moved from Sam’s lap to a bench beside Kenan, so when Luke got to Kenan, he didn’t remember he had already washed Elijah’s feet. So many of them.

I like to think that THE last supper was kind of like this, with familiar jabbing and poking, jokes about stinky feet and meaningless chatter in that hallowed room. Though Jesus’ subject matter was heavy, and there were a lot of unknowns, this was still a family, with shy ones and clowns, some serious and some silly.

I’m not sure why we started doing this as a part of our Easter celebration, but it probably has to do with wanting some traditions that our children can learn from and look back on. One probing question for me has always been, would Jesus rather us celebrate His birthday, or His death and resurrection? Of course, we are free to do both, but the more we try to absorb what He did for us in His sacrificial death and raising in new life, the better we can know Him.

“That I may know Him…” -Paul

New Thoughts

Since having my blog hacked last summer, Luke has outfitted me with a great new password. It would mean nothing to anyone but us, and I love that. No part of our present technological lives is unhackable, but it is nice to have a strong password and feel like we’re doing something in the war for the web.

I’m a book addict, I think. Yesterday I finished a book, and had a moment of panic that there was not another one to pick up. But of course there always is, and if nothing else I have my Aubrey Maturin series which numbers in the teens (I’m only on book 3) and my old standbys, Laura and Father Tim and Ralph. And, there is my read the Bible thru the years challenge, working through Exodus currently.

Two noteworthy books I have and am reading are How to Be A Christian Without Going To Church, and Revolution. The first is by a woman (Kelly Bean), the second by a man (George Barna). Together these have been such an encouragement to me as we navigate this time of our lives not going to church. Even though we don’t attend Sunday service in a building set aside for that purpose, we are still The Church, God’s called out people, learning and growing every day into His perfect plan for our lives. I’m eager to see what the future looks like for our family, without some of the traditional practices that both Luke and I were part of, growing up. God is always up to something new, and I am finally to the point of not feeling guilty, or not feeling guilty about not feeling guilty, if that makes sense. Because for me, so much of ‘doing church’ was exhausting. Being His church is already feeling much more free.

Giving Up

My poor baby. My big, red, four-wheeled baby. I just watched it get hauled up onto the bed of a tow truck, and what an amazing sight. The strength that the tow cable, and the motor, need to have, and the near delicacy the driver needs as he lowers the bed so that gravity doesn’t begin to work too hard against things…it was something to see. The driver asked me if I was coming along to the mechanic since I was still standing there gawking when he was done. But I just had to watch a mighty machine at work.

My last visit to the obstetrician I measured 24 inches. I was close to making that the title of this post, as just those two little words were enough to rob me of my joy and peace for a few hours…okay, days. I had thought I was further along, maybe even 26 or 27 weeks. Was baby shrinking? What was wrong? What should I do? Would I remind the doc that baby was older than that? Would I have to go back in for another check up sooner?

Then the most wonderful thoughts filled my mind. Thoughts of when Sam was born with that scary thing on his back. We had no knowledge beforehand, but if we had, I would have worried myself into a frenzy. But, all we had was ‘now’ and we made decisions from then on that were for Sam’s best quality of life. God let us in on that at just the right time, I think.

Another thought came to me- when the twins got sick. I’d just gone for a routine ultrasound, a higher level one done at OSU (hey, why not have a closer look because we can), and the doctor was telling us I’d have to have surgery that afternoon!!! We slowed the doctor down a bit, opting instead for the next morning, but we could see that this was needed to provide the best chance at life for our precious girls. God allowed us into this moment, and we were grateful there were ways we could help them.

Back to this baby. These memories reminded me of something powerful- when, and only when, the Lord sees fit for us to be involved in the care and decision making for each child, He has been faithful to let us know what is going on. The time that we spend not knowing, when He knits each in secret, is not time for me to worry and stew about anything. This was confirmed during my next OB visit, when I found out I am only 28 weeks along now, putting me at- you guessed it- 24 weeks then. Ha! God must laugh at His little ninny down here.

On Valentine’s Day I googled when Lent was. Um, it started on Valentine’s Day. We joked as a family about things we needed to give up, such as Studio C skits and movie quoting every. Single. Time. I had it in my head to confront a certain issue with a certain person, and was ready to have it out with them, that very week. But it was if a voice in my head said, why don’t you give up the control you are trying to exert over this issue? Why don’t you give that up for Lent? Wow. I’m not sure God really cares if we observe Lent or not, but the idea seemed just strange enough to be from Him, and I released any plans of pursuing my previous conversation. Here again was the Lord letting me in, not for me to get involved, but for me to see His mighty hand at work.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34