Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pedicures and Epic Failure

While working in the kitchen at Catholic Heart Work Camp, my new friend Marianna and I were discussing the benefits of a pedicure.  On the one hand, we are here to serve the needy of Springfield, Illinois.  On the other hand, she's been working like this for 3 weeks, and has 3 more weeks to go in this summer stint as a part of the CHWC staff. We decide then and there, that if time allows, we will go get this elusive slice of Heaven, known as the Mani-Pedi.  

On Thursday, the time arrives, so Marianna, Courtney and I meet at the nail salon. This is only the third time I've had a professional pedicure, and as this young man massages the soles of my feet and calves with sugar scrub, I wonder why I don't do this more often.  He scrubs away the dead skin and trims the nails on my toes.  He removes a bit of callus, and discovers that my feet are really ticklish. John, my nail technician, is a young Asian man with a 4 month old son. At the moment, he and his co-workers look like Jesus to me.  He is washing my feet.  They are giving rest and comfort to those of us who will give rest and comfort. The significance of this is at the front of my mind, and I silently pray for him and his family. 

And he is very SKILLED at comforting my feet!  

I have been soaked and scrubbed and lotioned and oiled.  I have been given a base coat and a cuticle push, a coat of the purple polish I chose, and then a top coat.  My legs and feet feel spectacularly refreshed. John puts my toes into the foam toe spreaders and we walk out to the manicure area, and I sit on a bar stool awaiting the next pampering.  It is time to work on my hands.

During my time at camp, I have become known as the "High Five Lady".  I have exchanged high fives with so many students, I can't even count them.  Actually, there are 260 of them, but I've high fived so many times that the skin on my hands is actually split and cracked. I love the enthusiasm of these teens, but come on, boys!  You don't have to "wind-up" before you smack the old lady's hands!  I love camp, and being a part of it comes at a cost.  I am in dire need of hand help.  The cure is called a Paraffin Dip.  

My hands are oiled and anointed with lotion and dipped in hot paraffin wax that warms, relaxes, and renews the muscles of my poor beaten hands.  After a time, my nails are polished and shined and look fabulous. John adds a coat of glitter and sends me to the drying table. I'm waiting for my friends and my nails to be ready when I notice a problem.  I have bumped my big toe against something and botched the paint job. 

OH GREAT!  I wrecked it!  This is SO typical of me!  I finally get to do something nice and I WRECK IT!  I had this great thing going, and I BOTCHED IT!  Grrrr!  I am furious with myself, and frankly, I'm disappointed.  I wanted to be beautiful!  I wanted to look good!  Every time I look at this toe, I will see and be reminded that this was a failure!  The pedicure was a failure.  

I am a failure. 

I have looked at that toenail every day for the last month, and I now realize how wrong I have been.

I am still a bit defective.  But I was wrong to think that it was the polish that made our feet beautiful.    Long before any of us, or even the Lord was born, Isaiah 52:7 said, 

"How beautiful upon the mountains*
are the feet of the one bringing good news,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”
That's EXACTLY why we're in town!  Our feet were beautiful before we even got there.  John's work on my feet was not in vain.  I was mistaken to believe that one little flaw negates the goodness of the rest of the experience. A centimeter of missing purple doesn't undo all the good of the massage, or the sugar scrub or the paraffin.  It doesn't undo time spent with new friends, or the sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ with 260 slap-happy campers and the people of Springfield Illinois. When I looked at my missing polish, I was thinking of what WASN'T, instead of all that WAS, and that is a mistake. 
WhenI focus on what didn't happen, or what didn't work out, or what it LOOKS LIKE, I completely miss the point!  Our whole lives are a series of events that we can choose to see the missing or find the blessings. My heart disease is like that. I can weep over having been dead for a few minutes, and how my heart doesn't work right, or I can thank God for the time spent in His loving embrace. My heart still mourns for the baby I lost, but I thank God for the knowledge that I have an intercessor in Heaven, and that my child is loved and cared for until we are together again. 
I am so very thankful for Marianna and Courtney for sharing this experience with me.  Had I not been accompanied by these beautiful servants of God, (and their beautiful feet) I may have missed out on this valuable lesson.  You amazing ladies have reminded me to use my beautiful feet for the glory of God.  


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