Sunday, April 26, 2009

Foot washing

This happened in the late 1990s. Don't worry. I'm sane and perfect now.

Dear Friends and Holy Rollers,

We had a re-enactment of the Lord's Last Supper for our Maundy Thursday service followed by a foot washing service at church. You know I am struggling with depression. One exercise my counselor recommended to help me change my habit of sorrowing is to make myself laugh every time I feel like crying or being sad. I have been instructed to fake a laugh in order to teach myself to choose an opposite response and get in control of my emotions so I don't go into the pit again. I made it through the message of ‘could it be me’. It’s the annual Easter sermon where all the disciples were wondering if they would be the one to betray Jesus. I wanted to cry so bad it hurt. I felt like a hose nozzle twisted shut with the water turned on full blast. I practiced my laugh reaction and made it through without a Kleenex.

Next we went downstairs to the fellowship hall. People were very somber and no one else in the room knew about my plan to laugh silently. They were sniffling and crying. Some were almost wailing. Not me buddy, I'm grinning from ear to ear. I have this super-imposed smile that suggests I don't really understand what is going on. Everyone was sitting in a circle with dishpans and towels mingled among the smelly feet. The idea was to humble ourselves and wash one another's feet and become a servant to all. I am not underestimating the somberness of the moment nor the reverence in which Jesus did this with His disciples. However, to see grown women on their knees weeping in those plastic dishpans just hit me as funny and the fake laugh that I was only to do silently was becoming more and more difficult to contain. One lady kept on her black panty hose during the whole ordeal. All she needed was some Woolite in her dishpan and she wouldn’t have to do laundry when she got home! I started to snicker. That’s when an elderly, weeping woman came to me and started rolling up my britches legs. I hadn't shaved my legs in a couple of days and I was pretty grizzly. Well, that really did cause me to laugh. She had me put my feet in the pan of warm water and that made me want to pee. Besides, it tickled! The woman washed my feet and didn't seem to notice my chipped toenail polish. If I had remembered we were going to do the foot-washing thing I would have at least come prepared. I would have worn a pair of socks that still had the elastic in them.

All that to say this: What's in a person's heart is not always what shows on the outside, and what we see on the outside is not always what's in a person's heart.

Hey, by the way, last week I had my ear pierced three times. I learned to hold still by the third try. I like my new look - cartilage piercing is so hip!

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