Even though I washed my feet thoroughly in the shower yesterday morning, I happened to catch a glimpse of them later on in the day. I was completely mortified by the collection of filth I saw. In just a few short hours, dirt had not only accumulated on the soles of my feet but was visible between each of my toes too. Yuck!
North Carolina might very well be the Tar Heel State, but I’m here to attest that feet get dirtier in the Peach State.
In fact, I now have theory: The further South you travel the dirtier your feet become.
Yesterday, as I prepared to wash my feet for the second time in 24 hours, a conversation crossed my mind. It was a story my mom shared with me years ago when I was a little girl. She was talking to me about the day I was born. My family was living in Cape Canaveral, FL at the time. On the afternoon she went into labor, as she and my dad prepared for the journey to the hospital, she noticed something.
My mom told my dad they couldn’t leave the house until her feet were clean. She didn’t want the doctor viewing (for what might be hours) her grimy, flip-flop wearing summer feet. She insisted that her feet be washed. So, in 1972, sometime mid afternoon in early September, my dad agreed to wash his wife’s feet.
This tells me something about my dad. The man is no dummy. You don’t say no to a barefoot and pregnant woman who is about to give birth to your third child, especially a barefoot and pregnant woman who has endured living in sticky and humid summertime Florida during her last trimester.
Growing up, my father never struck me as a feet washing kind of man. In fact, I didn’t personally catch this caretaker side of my dad until after my mom died. I was in college and came down with a severe case of strep throat. I had to come home for a week and was completely dependent on my dad to nurse me back to health. It was only then that I could envision him kneeling down with a wet wash cloth and cleaning filth off my mom’s feet.
Yesterday, I didn’t particularly like seeing my dirty feet, but I did like the memory it prompted. I liked the reminder of the crazy things we do for the people we love and cherish. And it made me smile because, once again, I am reminded at how God can take anything…even just an old memory of dirty feet…and make something beautiful out of it.