I have been blessed with an amazing amount of true friends and unconditional friendships throughout my life. So many dear souls who have embraced, loved and cared for me during times of suffering. So many women who have loved me just as I am, where I am. They have accepted all my quirks and goofball antics as they laugh with me as much as they cry with me. Oh I can’t tell you how grateful I am for so many wonderful people God has placed in my life!
I pray I give back as much as I receive…
Genuine friends are there for you in times of crisis. They not only show up, but dive in. They help you in various ways and each beautiful and precious act of service always shines light in our lives. Through all the valuable and cherished memories I have of such times when my loved ones have stepped in to help, there are those rare and raw moments of sacrifice that touch my heart so deeply. Those times when a friend has gone above and beyond what they would be called to do, only because they love me. Those are the moments when I realize that laying your life down for a friend brings a deeper meaning and an entirely new view.
There are so many opportunities around us to serve our loved ones, our friends and even those we don’t know well- or don’t know at all. But how many of us truly tune in? It takes a mighty heart to look beyond our lives and give of our self in such a way that challenges our comfort zone. I want to stretch and push and strengthen this very part of giving.
One summer a friend did just that for me. It was a simple and precious act, and yet it was profound and sacrificial- rendering such a love that it brought me to tears.
I was going through some turmoil in my family life, and she was well aware I was both depleted and hurting. She encouraged me to go to the pool so our kids could swim while we soaked in some sun and drowned in our laughter, because with her I always laugh. I agreed to her request knowing full well that was the best medicine I could have, and it would help pull me out of my own stuff.
This friend of mine is one of those friends that is ALWAYS so perfectly dressed from head to toe. She is gorgeous. And every single time I see her (which is very often), she looks amazing, adorned with adorable outfits, cool accessories, and perfectly matching jewelry to boot. Head to toe. (But don’t be misled; she is as real as they come.)
I on the other hand, live in sweat socks and gym shoes. Gym shorts and tank tops. My hair is always in a messy bun or ponytail with minimal everything just to get by. I am far from the latest fashion, and fail miserably at presentation. She loves me anyway… and often helps me with my hair and outfits with a glorious unconditional slathering of love.
One thing I deplore is my feet. They are wretchedly neglected because they ferment in my sweat socks and gym shoes all day long. My feet are often in pain, as I have bone-on-bone grinding going on in my joints and I have lived with this condition for years. I cannot wear sandals, flip-flops or any cute shoe for that matter. It’s hard to have cute outfits with gym shoes and sweat socks. It just is what it is, and I’m okay with that, although it doesn’t stop me from longing to wear some cute shoes and have pretty feet.
She knows all of this.
When we get to the pool, she sits down next to me and immediately opens up her bag and pulls out her pedicure supplies as she then proceeds to take my foot, gently pull off my sock and expose the nastiness that is there. I immediately pull it back and squeal with disgust, “What are you doing??!!” She reclaims my foot while she gently persuades, “I am giving you a much needed pedicure.”
I stare at her in total disbelief, while she fiddles through her polish and cleaners and lotions to find her filer, and starts working on my neglected toenails.
She sees absolutely nothing wrong with this act, despite me being horrified.
This perfectly pristine and ever so elegant woman has my smelly sweaty fungi foot in her beautifully manicured hands… and she is focused only on loving me.
Each nasty toe at a time.
Above and beyond?
To her, it was just giving me comfort and precious pampering, in her own unique and compassionate way.
16 We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 1 John 3:16
I am deeply aware and in awe of the power of this verse. There are moments of sacrifice that resonate in our lives of the literal sense, when we give so much of ourselves to another- we truly lay down our lives in many various ways.
And yet, there are those surprisingly simple and yet profound acts of service that are the ones that really get me.
A pedicure at the pool.
Perhaps God didn’t picture it this way…
Or maybe He did.
Because I could have sworn that Jesus washed my feet that day.
I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. – John 13:14-15