Saturday, March 1, 2008

washed feet.

i sat hunched over on the kitchen counter with my feet dangling in the sink last night while sam baked oatmeal cookies. Warm water running over my feet is one of my greater comforts in life. in the moments when i am most overwhelmed with 'me' you can find me with my feet submerged in a tub of hot water. after a long and difficult week of fighting off the flu my body craved relaxation. as sam and i were chatting i realized a familiar feeling rush over me, guilt. what am i doing? i should be the one baking. after a whole week of sam caring for me and sick manoah, being double duty at work and at home, here i am just sitting here while he is baking (of all things- baking- the stereo typical women's role). instead of experiencing or seeking to understand my guilt, with all of its frightening roots i said this, "thanks for making those cookies, they look so good." here's the funny thing about me...

i said thank you, not because i am truly thankful (bc i am) but even more than that, i said thank you because i didn't want to feel guilty. by saying 'thank you' i free myself from my guilt. i do this all the time. all the time. i feel guilty. guilty when sam gets up with manoah in the morning or the middle of the night, when i don't play with manoah enough or watch tv when he is awake. i feel guilty for letting him cry to sleep or when i go and pick him up. i feel guilty about driving too much and getting my 'list' accomplished with little manoah just strapped into his car seat or a shopping cart, or stroller. i feel guilty when sam comes home and i don't have a clue what to make for dinner. and when we finally decide what to eat he ends up cooking most of it. i feel guilty when he changes diapers or cleans up around the house. and for all these 'guilts' i brush them away by saying "thank you." somehow thinking that if i can say "thank you" first or fast enough then sam won't get upset or angry. my 'thank yous' pardon my guilt. and for a moment i think i am free.

a wise sage once told me that the only thing i am guilty of is not receiving the love of God. and although i still don't understand this fully in my heart, i believe it to be true. if i believed that God loved me i wouldn't live in fear. if i believed sam loved me, just being me, than i wouldn't be afraid of not pleasing him and losing his affection. love is hard to receive. love is a gift and sometimes i just don't believe i deserve it. perhaps if i can earn or deserve love than i can also take credit for it, and so creating in myself an idol of 'me.'

jesus washed the disciples feet. each of them, including Judas. peter couldn't not receive the gift of love. Jesus replied to Peter, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Jesus continues, "i have set you an example that you should do as i have done for you." unless i receive God's love for me- His entire and deep, abounding, unending love for every weak and glorious thing about me, i am not free of my guilt and the 'shoulds' that haunt me.

jesus washed the dirty feet of his friends. he knelt down on the dirty ground and dipped each foot into a basin of warm water. his hands held each foot, receiving them as they were. he had a towel tied around his waist and dried the remaining water off of their feet. he stood and moved to the next disciple, one after another, after another. he held them in all of filth of who they were, in the most unworthy places of their bodies. he knelt, came low before them and washed their feet. jesus washed their feet... all sinners, and yes- one murderer.
he knelt and washed feet.

a lot to say a little thing... i resist so deeply my feet being washed...really it is my heart pleading politely to sam and to jesus, "don't love me. thank you. and please don't wash my feet."

the truth is i am tired of saying "thank you."


Augustus Rex said...

every time i read you words i'm moved. i can't stop loving you, will never stop washing your feet, and continue to pray that you would accept the gift of being yourself and the gift of being loved by God and in that find wholeness.

the nibbling marmot said...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about that crazy ol' goat, guilt. It's a doozy.
Keep writing.
I love you.

jessica maneewan tou said...

anju. the hardest gift but the best gift to have is love. dont say thankyou if you dont want to. i know people 'wash your feet' for you cos they want to. i do. you're beautiful. *hugs*

becky said...

Been there, been there, been there! And I know it sounds sooooooo cliche, but it does get better, it does get easier. Why do we (esp. after having kids) WHY do we feel so GUILTY about doing anything to take care of ourselves?! A wise sage once told ME, if Mama's not happy - nobody's happy. Give yourself a break, let yourself off the hook. It sounds like Sam is a terrific, helpful man. Allow yourself to feel the gratitude, rather than the guilt.
Allow yourself the comfort of that footbath!
Hope you're on the mend soon.