When I was in junior high, we had a church camp that involved spending the weekend at church members’ houses. My age group went to Pat and Dave’s house, and the weekend was filled with activities like reading the Bible, staying up late to see if we could make anyone pee in the bed (by dipping their hand in warm water as they slept), and washing each other’s feet. I was mostly good with all of this, except for the feet thing. If you know me at all, you know that I’m not really a foot person. I don’t want to see your feet, and I don’t want you to see mine. There. Now we can be friends.
Anyway, as we sat in our evening circle, the camp leader started reading from John 13 and because he had asked Pat for a basin of water, I knew exactly what he was getting at.
Leader Guy: Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
Me (to myself): No. Please, no. I don’t want to take off my shoes.
Leader Guy: Because we are all disciples of Christ, I think we should take this opportunity to go around the circle and wash one another’s feet. As you wash the person next to you, please feel free to tell them that you love them in Christ.
I honestly felt one of my very first anxiety attacks coming on during that circle. Watching my friends (who 18 hours earlier had been trying to make each other pee) suddenly appearing somber and taking off their shoes threw me over the edge. When it was my turn for a washing, I just shook my head and said, “I can’t.”
Leader Guy: We’re all friends. This is a special moment at camp. I wish everyone would participate.
Me: I’m wearing tights. I can’t take them off.
Leader Guy (eyeing me suspiciously): Oh. Well, can Julie wash your shoes, then?
Me (clearly wearing Tretorns with those pom-pom ankle socks and no tights): Um, yes.
Julie (whispering): You are NOT wearing tights.
Me (whispering): I’m also not having my feet washed with a washcloth that has touched everyone else’s feet!
When Julie was done washing my big stinking liar shoes, I jumped up and went to the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to wash the next person’s feet. (I’m crafty like that.) I killed enough time in the bathroom to make sure that all washing was done by the time I returned to the circle.
Thirty two years later:
This morning Scout went outside in the rain and began digging a hole in the pond that is forming in our back yard. (We’ve had some crazy rain.)
I quickly ran out (with a grocery bag over my head and I’m not really sure why, other than the fact that I’m always trying to make a good impression) and grabbed her. We ran back up the stairs and into the house where I placed her in our utility sink and began to wash her feet. And as I washed her feet she licked my nose, which was her way of telling me that she will soon betray me. Again. Because that’s what she does.