I went into a salon for a manicure and a pedicure a couple of weeks ago. This pursuit is mostly a “girl thing,” although every so often a brave man wanders in.
My father-in-law is one such. He resisted a long time, but finally gave in to the urging of his wife, and now he and she together head to their favorite nail salon once a month. They are the ones who introduced me to the joys of the mani-pedi several years ago when I went to visit them.
The last time that I went I took a young friend with me, someone I am mentoring through a community program. She loves the whole salon process. She told me last time we went, “All of my stress just jumped right off me!”
That’s what happens, to be sure. So I climbed into the massage chair, put my feet into the hot water, and let the attendant go to work.
She massaged; she scrubbed; she snipped at my toenails. I sat and wondered how much it would cost to have this done more often, like, say, every day. What a fantasy!
I looked at the attendant’s peaceful face – she seemed to be in some kind of a contemplative zone herself. This is what she does all day long, I thought. And then: this is Jesus, in the person of a Vietnamese immigrant, washing my feet.
There’s a reason Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, other than to remove the dust of the Palestinian roads. He wanted them to not just think, but feel, how much he cared for them. He wanted them to realize that there are some things you cannot do for yourself.
I know you can wash your own feet, but it’s not the same experience. Which is why he said, “I have given you an example, so you also should do.”
Like many in my culture, I have soaked in the determination to do it all myself. I am trying to be a little more open about what I need, and also more aware of what others may need. I am trying to remember that Jesus washed my feet and told me to do likewise.