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.
16 thoughts on “Judas was a Shih Tzu.”
If you ever want to try the feet thing again, I will go and play in a mud puddle.
Oh man, this story. This story brought back a memory tidal wave. We should start an “I can love God and still keep my shoes on” club.
In college I was in InterVarsity and we had a week-long camp at the end of every year called Chapter Camp, and my first year they did this same foot washing in a basin thing during one of the bible studies. And in addition the sanitary implications of a bunch of people who literally wear SHOES in the SHOWER because fungus is So Prevalent sharing a single basin of water is enough right there. On top of that though, is the fact that I happen to be a Woman with Hairy Toes. I have made my peace with this now that I am an adult (so I shave my toes, whatever man. There are bigger things in the world in every single sense), but as an awkward teen with a cute boy about to see and touch her sweaty smelly hobbit feet?! I was so mortified it was all I could do not to hyperventilate.
And so I said “I’m not really comfortable with this.” And did God’s followers accept this? No, they did not. At first it seemed that they did, but then someone prayed for my “closed off heart” (wtf?!) and later the leader from my school found me and insisted that I do it. That I “receive what was being offered to me.” And because I was so insecure I let him wash my feet. But in my first small stand as someone who can think for herself in religious settings, I did go to the bathroom and wash them myself first (and used a razor someone had left in the shower to shave my toes for the first time.) The whole thing was awful and I hated it and I don’t think any of that was what Jesus had in mind.
On a positive note, I wash my dogs’ little frito paws all the time, and that makes me feel how I think all of that Jesus feet stuff was supposed to.
Oh, dear. I was going to say you would be happy to see my feet because I have really pretty ones. They are my best feature. Really.
But then, after the horror story of what they did at church camp — to junior high school kids! — I don’t blame you if you hate everyone who ever mentions feet. Even I, with my dainty little perfectly shaped toes, would have been mortified at the idea of what was expected of you then.
No wonder you make the most beautiful socks.
I, like Grammy, have quite pretty feet and also consider them one of my best features. One of my college roommates said that if I didn’t marry a man with a foot fetish it would be a waste and a pity. Haven’t found him yet.
It seems to me though that anti-feet people are really really dedicated to their cause/belief/lifestyle choice and cannot be swayed, even if I do offer to show them my very nice ones.
wow! 2 people that have beautiful feet! You have a very diverse readership. Mine aren’t in that club.
Anyway – I needed a laugh, I hoped you’d posted (I’m currently experiencing FB withdrawal as I have removed the app from my phone and will not check it at home). I was so happy to get to read one of your stories. You’re a fountain of funny!
side note – it has occurred to me that if you believe that your feet are your best feature it must be quite hard on you because they are covered most of the time and people have no interest in looking at them. I extend my sympathies. Now I’m going to try to figure out what I think is MY best feature and if it’s visible… hm. Probably is. Most of me is. ;)
I have been forced to participate in a foot washing circle. It was the most awkward and uncomfortable thing. Later in yoga teacher training, I just had to get over the foot thing. I have done full on savasana adjustments on some gnarly feet and I always think of that foot washing moment.
LOL! You have a gift for story telling.
Oh Dear Lord. Seriously, some events (especially Biblical events) are strictly place & time. Any attempt to recreate is misguided. Keep the lesson, save the demo.
Mitts off my feet. And my shoulders. Unless I have married you or am paying you the whole pharm is off limits.
I work at a University with a very casual dress code. I feel the same way you do about feet (don’t want to see yours, don’t want you to see mine) and I have a very difficult time concentrating in meetings if the guy next to me is wearing sandals.
Your title of the post may be the funniest ever. Thanks. You are funny.
“When Julie was done washing my big stinking liar shoes,” LOL. Funny funny story. Scout looks naughty. Very Judas-like.
As a kid I had such severe excema on my feet that I had to put prescription medicine on them every night and wear white cotton socks to keep the oily medicine off my sheets. My feet would crack, split and bleed between the toes. I was a freakshow. NO ONE saw my feet, ever, except for my poor mom, who wished she didn’t have to see them, but no such luck for her.
Washing each other’s feet is pope’s work in this millenium. Couldn’t the faithful find value in group manicures? Couldn’t you just Madge out and soak in it?
1) Fully agree that the title of this post deserves high accolades — possibly even nomination for all-time-best-ever-blog-post-title!
2) And all these years I’ve been thinking that Grammy and I have so much in common. Not any more! Plant me firmly in the closed-toe-shoes-no-matter-what category.
On Mother’s Day the year I broke my ankle, our lovely and well-meaning daughter-in law very thoughtfully gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure. “I remembered that you said you’ve never had one, Mom. We can go together. You’ll love it!” I thanked her profusely for such a sweet thought, hemmed and hawed for a bit, and then finally said “But Jenny, there”s a reason I’ve never had a pedicure. Have you seen my feet?” At which point I did the unthinkable and took off my shoes in her presence. Lonnnnng silence. Then, after audibly gathering her breath before speaking, “Oh” (another long pause) Well, it’s good for a manicure too, Mom; maybe we can do that instead.” Sweet girl,but I’m sure that if I ever feature in her nightmares, that revelation will be involved.
Feet. It’s my second biggest reason for disliking summer after humidity. And now that it is September and everyone should have their shoes back on? I see people with pants and sandles. I cringe
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