Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grace ful feet

As the seasons have changed and the warmth has settled in for good, I've seen a lot more bare feet these days. Discarded dirty socks litter the house - I find them under the dining room table; beside the front door; trapped in between the couch cushions - and I swear, the boy shoes around here reproduce on their own! But I do not like feet. I do not like getting pedicures; I do not like when other people's feet touch me; I think feet are ugly and smelly and rather gross. I have a bloodhound nose and can smell stinky feet a mile away. Admittedly, Pax has pretty cute feet - but even his feet get stinky at grimy!

My dad built an amazing new sandbox that sits on our deck. It is 16 square feet and holds about 500 pounds of sand. Inevitably, sand gets in every one of the boys' nooks and crannies - and between each and every toe. Without socks on, their feet sweat buckets in their shoes, and they somehow manage to collect a small garden's worth of dirt and mulch on their soles each time they venture outdoors. Their feet reek with the stench of dirty, sweaty, smelly boy.

I love the sandbox, I love the garden, but I do not love sand or dirt in my house, and I cannot stand the stench of their feet. And so I find myself doing a lot of foot washing these days.

I carefully carry each boy to the kitchen sink where I balance him on the edge of the counter. And I begin to wash his feet. I use the spray nozzle and many bubbles and gently clean each toe. I lather up the soles of his feet and his ankles and the tops and the sides and every bit of each boy's small feet. They both laugh and cackle and giggle because it tickles, because it's funny to have your feet in the kitchen sink, because it feels dangerous to teeter on the edge of the counter, because they are so close to me perched on the sink.

And I love it. I love to wash their feet, the symbolism, the humility, the grace of the foot washing. Of all the caretaking acts I provide, this one is my favorite, one that makes me pause and be grateful and love them even more as I wash their feet. I love them unconditionally and without fail, no matter what. I wash their feet.

1 comment:

Susan said...

ah, yes, your post reminds me of the story I wrote about Papa Bowes for the family story project. He polished wash feet; both ways of loving and serving.