On Saturday, I was out doing a few things in the morning and my daughter stayed home. When I returned, she came to the door and pulled me into the living room where I saw a stool covered in lotions, creams, and bath salts. In front of the couch was a pink basin filled about halfway with water. In front of the basin was another stool with a towel next to it on the coffee table. She asked me to sit down on the couch, take off my shoes and socks, roll my jeans up to my knees, and put my feet into the basin of water.
With some hesitancy, I did as she asked. You must understand: I do not do this. I have a hard time relaxing and I don’t let anyone touch my feet. The water was hot and sent a shot of warmth through my body. I looked up at my daughter, who was now sitting on the stool on the other side of the basin. She poured bath salts into the water and asked me to soak my feet for five minutes. Something in her eyes told me it was okay and I took a deep breath. After five minutes passed, she kneeled before the stool and asked me to put one foot up on the towel now covering the stool. She put an exfoliating cream on her hands and began to massage it into my left foot. I almost started to cry. The intimacy was overwhelming. She lowered my left foot back into the basin and asked for the right. She massaged the right as she had done the left. I stared at her with wonder. We said nothing. She lowered my right foot back into the basin. Then, she got back on the stool leaned down, bent in half, and cupping her hands, she rinsed my feet. By this point, I was not just speechless, but breathless too. I stumbled out repeated “thank you’s” but really just sat quietly, feeling her hands on feet that no one had ever cared for this way before. The only thing I could think to do was to take a couple pictures in the hope that I would always remember this moment. This washing and treatment lasted nearly 40 minutes. Most of it was spent in silence, the movements and touches of the body saying all that could be said.
At the end of his life, Jesus kneeled on the ground and washed his disciples’ feet with cupped hands. Just before he began, Scripture says of Jesus: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1) He cradled a left dusty, calloused foot, and then a right one like the left, of each man, looked into their eyes, and loved them. I got a glimpse of what these disciples must have felt in this moment of intense intimacy with the Savior of the world, the Prince of Peace, God-with-us. They were confused at first and then looked into his eyes of grace and were overwhelmed by the power of his love.
“[W]hen the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing and rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)
I wonder if I have ever received love like I did Saturday with small hands rubbing and rinsing my sensitive, self-conscious feet. My daughter’s love overtook me and I had no opportunity to accept it or reject it. It just was. I was so humbled by this love, powerless to it once I allowed myself to feel and receive it. It was gentle, gracious, and pure. It reminded me of my salvation. When a daughter kneels and washes your feet, God breaks in.