Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Last Wednesday

I wanted to tell you about something that happened last Wednesday, something I did not anticipate. In a dim room, among friends, candles lit, towels damp, a man I don't know very well washed my feet.
(Read on...)

This is noteworthy because I usually take care of this myself. I choose the time and place of when and where my feet get washed. It is not a public event. It is something I do alone.
While I knew what this night was about, I did not expect this to happen. I thought that I did not know this man very well, and that I was safe. I had heard his story through his own tears. He had heard mine. We have eaten Jesus' body and blood together. For all of this, I did not consider us close. He was not a threat.
That did not prevent him from walking across the circle, kneeling, rinsing and rubbing my feet, drying them, hugging me, and leaving. He came into my space and moved me. Why him? Why me? I just did not expect this. This was a surprise.
Intimacy is not shared habits or interests, as I have thought. It is not time spent together. It is not trust built or earned. It is not a matter of charming the other. This man showed me that service creates intimacy. When he humbled himself and touched me, he taught me this. He showed me how close we are.
I left the dim room ashamed for what I had assumed, what I thought I knew so well. (I like to think I now how/why people connect). This is a new teaching for me, a hard one. I am only partially grateful for this teaching; I am honestly grieved at what this will cost, at what else in me must die.

1 comment:

geoff said...

thanks ryan. it was a remarkable night. having my feet washed is one of the most vulnerable things i have experienced. unusually sacred and such an awkward ritual. thanks for describing your experience here. in my opinion, this practice has become one of the most life-giving things we do as a community.