The snow storm found me deputising for carers at a moment’s notice. We came to the foot washing ceremony, a novel experience for both. Suddenly I was impacted by the symbolism, recalling how Jesus had taken the servant role by washing the feet of his disciples. As I knelt before Mum, all kinds of scenarios started to flit through my mind.
These were the feet that walked her to the altar in her teens to be confirmed; when she made the Christian commitment that lasted all her life; when she asked God to choose her future husband. They were the feet that took her to Dad’s garage to ask for driving lessons. Still in her teens, they danced for joy on her wedding day – causing heads to shake in disproval among the old school Methodist contingent. The same feet thundered upstairs in anger when we played around as children instead of going to sleep; they fetched me back when I ran away from home after a fierce clash of wills.
These feet accompanied me reluctantly to the airport the day I left for Sierra Leone – not wanting me to go. She fell apart when my plane took off, I learned later. The same feet came to meet me at the airport when I returned a complete mess, slamming the door on all the festivities she had arranged to welcome me home. They laboured on alone when she needed the help that I failed to give.
My professional eyes kicked in as I noticed the deformities and blemishes. Forty years of osteoarthritis had taken their toll. Now twisted painfully out of shape, some toes had red rub marks whilst others were bandaged where the podiatrist had performed minor surgery on corns. I kicked into bossy daughter mode to deliver a lecture on suitable footwear. She smiled at me. There was no pain. Her feet had been like this for ages. She loved the shoes we had just bought. She would let me know if problems arose.
I finished washing and drying the feet, thoughtful and oh so grateful. How patient she was with me and how crotchety I had been with her on occasions. The previous day I even forgot it would have been wedding anniversary number seven-seven.
The feet walked oh so slowly back to her chair and we enjoyed a cuppa together, happy to have shared a brief ‘God moment’ in a very ordinary day.