Thursday, March 24, 2016

81. Washing feet

Holy Thursday is a day on the Christian calendar that probably doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. Feet get washed. I didn’t really pay attention to it when I was younger. (In fact, I HATED the Easter weekend masses. You spend about six hours in church over three days.)

But I’ve grown to appreciate the day. I went to the Basilica for Mass tonight. Usually, the priest only washes a few peoples feet, but at the Basilica, everyone is invited to get their feet washed and wash someone else’s feet. 

I know it sounds ridiculous. Why would you purposely touch someone else’s feet? Personally, I’m grossed out by feet. They smell weird. They look weird, and I’d rather just avoid them. 

So why do it? It’s about humbling yourself. And I believe we don’t put enough of a value on humility in our day-to-day lives. You can literally go your whole day without touching someone else, let alone someone else’s feet. You can usually avoid things you don’t like and you can outsource stuff you don’t want to do (even like breaking up with your girlfriend, seriously, look it up.) 

But Holy Thursday is a chance for everyone to be on the same level. It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you believe or how much money you have. There were young and old people up there. Rich and poor, it didn’t matter. I liked that people walked up to the altar barefoot, so you don’t know how much money they spent on shoes. 

First, somebody washes your feet. It’s not too fancy. You just pour some water over the feet and dry them off. It really isn’t about getting feet clean. And then you wash the next person’s feet. And every one of these interactions ends with a hug. Today I washed the feet of a total stranger, and a total stranger washed mine. And I hugged people I didn’t even know. That’s kind of crazy. And the craziest part is, the woman said “thank you” after I finished with her feet. 

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