Washing Feet

A most touching prayer from Timothy Fountain posted at Lent and Beyond today:

I’m chasing a naked 12-year-old around the living room.

My son, Joey, is autistic. Autism is a “pervasive neurological blah blah blah.” It is enough to say that Joey won’t bathe, dry and dress himself. I do it, whether he cooperates or not.

Joey’s nightly bath (and he insists on it to the point of getting violent if it is delayed) is one of those divinely illuminating but humanly lame experiences. Through Joey, “Jesus washes his disciples’ feet” loses its aroma of church funk and incense. I experience the foot washing as something more than a few fidgety, barefoot volunteers on Maundy Thursday. I know what it is to go through all of a day’s exertions and demands and, just when I would like to recline and be waited upon, to wring one more drop of energy out of my tired, resentful flesh to take care of another. I know what it is to bathe Joey on Monday with a tenderness that must come right from God’s heart through my hands, and on Tuesday to whine and curse over the tub as my flesh reasserts its claim to the center of the universe.

I’m certainly not alone in this. Plenty of people out there are caring for the most intimate, uncomfortable and even gross needs of others. Cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, AIDS; making a list seems offensive as I can’t help but overlook some condition being cared for by a Christ-like “foot-washer.”

It continues here…

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