What If You Aren’t a Foot Person?

As I write this, I’m in need of a good pedicure. My purple Lenten nail polish is chipped. My heels are rough. It’s not pretty.

– I had a friend who never went barefoot although we spent many 4th of Julys at the beach. She also forbade flip flops in her presence.

– I know people who will get a pedi today on the off chance someone will try to wash their feet tonight.

– I know a church who kicked and screamed about including a foot washing on Maundy Thursday because it was “too Catholic” or “too embarrassing.” They finally allowed the washing of children’s feet because “they are too young to be self-conscious.”

What is it about feet?

Do feet themselves make us uncomfortable as a body part? Are they so easily hidden under socks that we neglect them and we are ashamed? Do we want to keep the horrible secret to ourselves that our feet sweat a lot or have warts?

Pretty feet don’t come naturally at a certain age and rubbing someone’s feet is an act of intimacy and humility. It would be less intimate to rub someone’s back or brush their hair, or even tell them they have spinach in their teeth.

Maybe we just don’t want someone to look at our feet, much less touch them. In public.

But this is what Jesus did. Take away the cultural differences, and I still find this extraordinary.

One response to “What If You Aren’t a Foot Person?

  1. As someone who is not a fan of feet I can somewhat see where you are coming from here. I get the majority of people are just worried about the appearance of feet instead of an actual aversion as I have had to deal with for most of my life. See, back when I was still okay with feet (when I was a kid) I understood that feet are often one of the hardest worked parts of the body. They are stood on or walked on for hours at a time, they go through extremes of heat and cold and are very often wet. Wet from rain or from sweat, it doesn’t matter. When Jesus washed feet it was something that he did as a service. He wanted to serve these people to show that he was no better than they were even though He was the Son of God. If He had set himself above them, above us, then what hope could we ever possibly have of attaining entrance into Heaven. So Jesus became a servant. He washed the feet of people who had been traveling on dusty roads probably kicking up animal dung and other unclean things. The act of washing the feet is highly personal and it is something we should do often. It reminds us that we are not so high and mighty that we cannot make ourselves low and serve the less fortunate around us.
    So as a concept I get it. But in reality, if someone wanted to touch my feet it just isn’t going to happen. In fact it has taken me years to be comfortable enough with my best friend and to learn to trust her enough so she can actually touch my feet and on occasion even paint my toes. For me it isn’t vanity, it is actual remembered childhood trauma that has led to an aversion to feet. Because I have built up that trust with her, I find that it is now easier to open myself up to trusting other people to touch my feet.


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