The Children and the Hand Washing

Tuesday evening when we visited Pierce Chapel at Wesleyan College for a service, we sat together as a family as the Director of Campus Ministries gave the homily.  She talked about how we are called to serve each other, to be the hands and feet and eyes and ears of the One who came to teach us how to love.

An empty bowl and a pitcher of water and towels sat at each end of the altar.  In the same way that Jesus washed the feet of those who traveled with him, she called us to go up two by two and wash the hands of the one we were with.

Serving.

Giving.

Loving.

Caring.

I watched as my two littles grabbed a hand of one they loved, excited, eager to go up and wash the hands they were holding.

My little guy’s mouth was pursed as he focused on picking up the nearly full pitcher and pouring it carefully over his big sister’s hands.  He smiled as he “got it right.”  He looked up at her and she nodded.  He took the towel and helped her dry her hands.

I saw the light in our Princess’ eyes and the joy in her smile as she lifted the pitcher and poured the water over my hands in front of her.

I think of all who attended the service, the two of them–the only two in the under 18 crowd–were the most enthusiastic and serious all at the same time.

But that might just be because I was watching them so intently.

The light that came into my baby girl’s eyes when she got to serve, the intensity and focus that my little guy had as he made every effort to serve as called…..

I could learn a lot from them.

That eagerness, the excitement, the joy, the sheer love and light–

I want all of that.

I want to be the hands and feet and not be afraid of getting dirty in my efforts to follow the path of the Rabbi.

“…..and a little child shall lead them.”  Isaiah 11:6

As I make my way through this week, I am trying to keep my eyes and heart open and learn anew through my children’s eyes and what they see and feel.  And how they love.

May we all learn to love and serve eagerly with a light in our eyes and joy in our hearts.

Love to all.

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The One Thing I Don’t Want to Be…..Especially on Sundays

pic of Sunday calendar

Another Sunday.

Today is the third Sunday since we have stopped serving meals on Sunday nights at Daybreak, the day shelter for folks in need up in Macon.  I hear that our friends are doing well at the other places that serve, and for that I am thankful.

My Sundays look very different now.  Actually they are still morphing, in transition.  No longer do I make sure my sink is totally cleared on Saturday nights so I can fill pots in the sink on Sunday.  No more inventory count no later than Friday to check my stock of coffee, tea bags, sugar, marshmallows, Swiss Miss, and so on.  No more getting up early to get things started–washing and sanitizing four coolers and then preparing ten gallons of sweet tea, over three of coffee, and then, season dependent–five gallons of hot chocolate or hot water.  It took me a while, but I finally had the process down to a near science.  It’s the little things in life, people.

I do miss our friends, but soon I will see them there at a different time and in a different capacity, so I am thankful for that.  What has surprised me is that I miss my Sunday ritual.  I do not mean to offend, but it had become a bit of a holy time, this preparation of the vessels and preparing the drinks.  I used the same pot and bowls and measuring cups and spoon each week.  And the cleanup was a special ritual as well.  This routine that took up much of my Sundays for over two and half years was familiar and it brought me comfort.  Each step I did, I knew what task was next.  There is something very comforting in that.  All the way through the day, knowing what came next.

Late last night I was thinking through our options of things to do today.  The past two Sundays have been good, filled with being with family and life-affirming goodness.  Things I love.  Today promised to be no different.  I have done things I would not have planned before, as my day was already full.  And in a good way.  Last night as I thought over the coming day, I wondered how long it would be before it no longer felt strange to have Sunday as a day to plan whatever or not plan at all.  I remember years ago, before any of my children were born, Sundays were very relaxed.  Up and off to church, dinner out with friends or family, then home to peruse the big thick Sunday paper and all those salespapers, and then usually a nap weaseled its way in.  Really, really laid back.  I was so complacent.  Maybe I was not completely unaware of my brothers and sisters who are living such hard lives without all their basic needs met, but I certainly was not mindful of it on a daily basis.

So I figured out last night that one of my fears in all of this is that I go back to that complacency.  Just because my Sundays have changed drastically doesn’t mean that theirs have.  I worry that the time will come when I don’t miss the ritual anymore, that a Sunday will pass that I don’t think about our friends and the fact that it’s raining or cold or hot and wonder how they are doing.  I don’t want that at all.  I want always to pause at some point in my day, particularly my Sundays, and appreciate whatever I am in the midst of; but I also want to have a quiet moment to recall and give thanks for all of these Sundays in the past and the people whom I have gotten to know–and what they have meant in my life–the people and the days.  I do not ever want to be complacent again.

Especially not on my Sundays.