Friday, March 26, 2010

Feet First?

You can find art almost anywhere.
Look at the pattern of smeared Colgate gel toothpaste around my boys milky bathroom sink. Or Weston's upside down face done in pastel mode. OK, maybe it's not good art, but the color contrast is nice. The boys are still trying to learn how much paste to squeeze out and manage to get the cap back on. (More than once Weston has gone to bed with toothpaste in his hair. -Which we don't find until the next morning!)
All right, perhaps I should say, you can find story anywhere.
I have dared to reveal my left big toe (greatly in need of a pedicure in more ways than one.) Now, you may notice some sparkly burgundy polish clinging to the top of that crudely torn nail. Yes. That is stubborn polish that this tall dame refuses to chip off. I'd rather let it linger till the last possible breaking point. I'd like to see it hang on until next August if it could, for then it would be a year old. Yep.
That corny smear of polish that my husband questioned me about yesterday with quite the curious tone holds significance for me. --It reminds me of a luxurious August day when Mom took Janice and I for a deluxe pedicure in Eugene.
There we were, three of us mothers leaning back in big vibrating chair, sipping our tea of choice, giggling (of course), trying to read fashion magazines (but not able to get two lines read before we were chatting again... and giggling), while our feet were soaking in warm salty sudsy jacuzzi water and being rubbed. Ahhh.... Such a special moment. Mom planned it all way in advance, and all Janice and I had to do was arrange our schedule. That moment of indulgence and connection... that pampering and tending to a part of my body that needs tending but which I sadly neglect but nonetheless trod upon all day long, is so precious to me now. And thus, this fleck of polish has become symbolic. Holy.
I rarely paint my nails, but I can recall another time my toes were painted: when I was pregnant with Weston. I could not feel very proud or pretty about my body in general, I'm sorry to say. [Sorry because I should have been more proud, (I know now) of the beautiful human parasite inside me-- but also sorry because I wasn't being careful with parts of my body that took extra work like: my thighs or my ab muscles or my teeth or... my feet.]
I remember thinking there was at least one part of my body I could improve upon (except my hair) and that was my toes. At least they could be pretty and make me happy
--if I painted them.
But I couldn't reach them.
That's right. No matter how I tried to bend, flex, or lean around the beach ball in my tummy-- no foot was coming near my little wand of gloopy watermelon paint. So I remember: David and Donovan offered to do my toes for me! They were so careful and it made me giggle then too because it tickled, and it was so precious to see them concentrating and breathing on my feet when I was supposed to hold still. It was an honor. Maybe that's why I don't paint my own toes -- it's way better to have someone else do it. But it's a rare thing, too.
We don't tend to want to show our feet, let alone let people touch them.
Look at my right big toes, they're even funnier: Again, a strange patch of sparkly burgundy polish, but then: a SUPER tall second toe. HA! it's like a cheese curl from Veggie Tales. I should put a little face on it, standing there so proud like a soldier ready to march.
Of course all this calls to mind our Scripture piece from last Sunday: Mary of Bethany lavishing perfume on Jesus' feet. He took it; without embarrassment and (I'm guessing) without giggling. -- But maybe not! Maybe his feet were terribly ticklish and her tendrils of hair were drying his nerves crazy, so he bust out in a big belly laugh and said, "No, don't stop. Just don't go underneath -- HA HAA!" ...No wonder Judas was so disgusted.
Whatever his reaction, I'm sure Jesus didn't miss the honor. The risk. The intimacy. The symbolism.
"She is readying me for my death."
So, quirky as it may seem, those remnants of polish from last summer remind me of love and connection and a kind of pampering I almost weep with a recognized longing for.

...Why don't I tend to myself the way I let others tend to me?

No comments: