Feet

7 Apr

The priest asked us a question. It was a rhetorical question, but when he asked us to tell him the traditional Catholic Holy Thursday ritual, Stephanie raised her hand and said, “It’s the washing of the feet!” Yes, the great washing of the feet. It’s the ritual that never fails to showcase how much we would rather be watching the service from our couches than the pews. Let God take a year of my life before anyone comes close to these bunions. Strike me down with your strongest bolt of lightening if these toenails are touched by anything other than my lavender luffa and these two rightful hands attached to the same body.

Forget that feet are a reflection of what we’ve been through, telling stories of what we’ve made them endure and how far we’ve made them travel. Forget that feet are the only part of us that can most accurately predict the future, ignoring the doubts and assumptions of our minds and leading us to places we thought we understood. Forget that feet are the greatest mascots of simplicity, reminders that moving forward is instinctual. Forget that feet are beautiful and look fantastic in a nice pair of cowboy boots.

Instead, remember that we probably invented rhetorical questions because we are afraid of answers. Thoughts don’t leave the brain fully formed, emotions don’t leave the body with stickers of approval, and even the most detailed of maps can’t tell us where we are walking. Remember that our feet are about as far from our brain as possible, evolution telling us that our thoughts only pretend to pave the roads we walk. Remember to trust.

There’s something to be said for autopilot, for a dog’s ability to find its way home, for those moments when all you want to do is sit under a tree and there just happens to be a park nearby. To offer your feet is to sacrifice control, to realize that you never had it in the first place. It is to begin to answer rhetorical questions and abandon hope of ever saying anything coherent while doing so. It is to be excited on Holy Thursday mass when the priest comes by with a pitcher of water and asks you to take off your shoes.

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