Ok, this may sound a little weird, but hang with me for just a little bit. I’ve been away from my home for 16 days, in other countries, having the time of my life. I left behind one of the very best friends I’ve ever had in my life and he only weighs 12 pounds on a heavy day. This little best friend is my pet Chihuahua mix breed dog, Buddy. Buddy is ten years old and I’ve had him for all of but five months of those ten years. I found him freezing cold and starving at a truck stop the day after Christmas, 2005. I ended up not being able to resist picking him up and thought I was taking him to the Humane Society in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but instead took him into my heart. I’ve missed the little guy since we were over in western Europe, but knew he was missing me probably even more. He tends to do that when I’m gone. We’re pretty attached to each other I guess. So, that’s the first part of this story.
The second part of this story is that I have a lot of foot, leg, hip, and back pain when I’m on my feet for very long. (That is part of my fibromyalgia/arthritis issues.) Also, I have very, very dry feet so it’s not uncommon for my feet, especially my heels, to crack and bleed when I’m on them for any length of time. I’ve tried all the cures known to doctors and Pinterest, but without a lot of success. While we were on our trip, we walked and walked and walked and…you get the picture. Considering how much we walked, I did really well until the last two or three days. Somewhere in the Louvre my feet, etc. decided they were done and I started hurting. Last night by the time we got to the hotel in Boston after a full 20 hours of walking in airports and flying across the Atlantic, I took off my shoes and my feet had been bleeding without me even realizing it.
Now comes the third part of the story. Today we finally arrived home and my Buddy went nuts with excitement! He was SO happy to see me that he nearly licked my chin and cheeks right off. (He knows he isn’t allowed to lick me on the mouth, but my chin is fair game! Ha!) Anyway, I was sitting in my chair, going through the mountain of mail I received while we were gone and suddenly I notice that Buddy is licking my foot. I look down and once again my feet had cracked and bled. I tried to stop Buddy from licking my feet, but he looked up at me with such a look of love and devotion, I let him continue. He completely, entirely cleaned up my ugly, swollen, cracked feet. I know this sounds gross, but it was really very reviving. Then he climbed into his favorite position by my side in our chair and fell asleep.
So, where am I going with this? As Buddy fell asleep by my side, I suddenly thought of the following story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet before the last supper they would ever have together:
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
I’ve read this story hundreds of times, heard sermons and bible studies devoted to it, and often wondered how Jesus could wash someone else’s dirty, gross feet when they walked everywhere they went. I especially wondered this in light of the fact that Jesus is God’s son and by all rights should have asked his disciples to wash his feet. He was about to give up his life for them and the world and yet he washed their feet? That always completely blew my mind and baffled me. I’ve always thought he was demonstrating a servant’s attitude to them so they would know how to be with others after he was gone. Jesus said, though, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
When Buddy was washing my feet earlier and looked up at me with so much love and devotion, I finally got it! I am Buddy’s person. I belong to him. He loves me with a depth of devotion that we don’t see often in this life. Jesus was telling his disciples they are his. They, and we, belong to Jesus. He loves us with a depth of devotion we can’t even begin to fathom.
Yes, Jesus died for us, but he also loves us so much that he would wash our feet just as he washed the disciples’ feet. All of us who’ve read stories or seen movies where the hero dies for his/her soul mate, best friend, fellow soldiers, country or ideals understand that concept. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, right? Ok, how many of those same heroes would wash others’ dirty, smelly, cracked, bleeding feet though? Jesus did and Jesus would.
For the record, I’m not saying Buddy is equal to Jesus, obviously. Dogs do exhibit a lot of love and devotion to their “people,” however, that people don’t sometimes. I think it’s remarkable that the Son of God was/is willing to lower himself to the same level as a little Chihuahua dog, though, to show his love and devotion to us. Jesus is crazy about us and there isn’t anything he won’t do to prove it.
With that, this jet-lagged nut is going to rest for a while.
Peace and love, always, Elaine