The phone rings and help is needed again. Yes, of course, I’ll come.
Immediately, the complaints start in my head. Why her? Why not someone else? Why doesn’t someone do something to help? Those stupid (insert description here–doctors, nurses, hospitals, senators, etc.); why don’t they take care of this? Why do I have to do this? Why is it this task that has to be done?
I think I can almost hear Linda Ronstadt’s voice, coming to me again from the seventies. Yep. I hear it right now. “…put me through some changes Lord, sort of like a Waring blender. Poor, poor pitiful me.”
Enter the Lovely Lady. She knows when I’m beaten. The look she sees in my eyes she calls my concussion stare. She has seen it before. A phone call from her to a friend is in order. No, not a close friend–not even someone who has shared our table with us. The lady at the other end of the phone simply knows us, but she also knows she can help.
She will come.
For an hour or more, this kind friend will work at a job which most of us would refuse to even speak of. Side by side with us, she does much more than speak of it–teaching, encouraging, demonstrating. More than once as we work she leans against the foot board of the bed or the dresser beside the bed. I think nothing of that until later.
It is an emotionally draining job, but she smiles and we kid as we work. When she walks out the door with us, it is with a cheerful wave and the invitation to call her anytime if she is needed.
Grateful is too weak a description for what I feel tonight.
I see, in my mind, a rough and powerful man bending low before His friends, washing the grime from their filthy and road sore feet. The Teacher who will soon be their Sacrifice serves, with humility and love, those who follow Him. There are not many of us who will follow His example.
Tonight, by that bedside, I saw Him in action. Do you think it a small thing? I tell you, it was not!
The servant’s heart is one of the most powerful tools I can think of in this sometimes cruel world we walk through. When it comes alongside during a period of emotional distress and need, the effect is magnified many times.
And, as I watched and listened to our friend, I remembered that she too suffers with the very same infirmity which she sought to ease in the one who lay on that bed. Mere months ago, she was the one lying on such a bed–learning, crying, and being served by someone else. It is the reason she is tired and weak still. Yet, she came and did all she could for someone she did not know.
Someone she did not know!
Perhaps, there will be more pity parties along the way. The ordeal is not finished and it is possible that I may play the blame game once again. One would hope not, but my memory is short and my sense of what is fair, slightly out of kilter.
For tonight though, I see clearly that there are more noble things than health and wealth; there are loftier goals than fame and renown.
I will set my sights higher.
I want to wash feet.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
(C.S. Lewis ~ Irish author/theologian ~ 1898-1963)
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
(John 13:14,15 ~ ESV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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