Many coherent blog topics floated through my head tonight during the Maundy Thursday worship service. Beautiful service, beautiful music (yay! Joyful Voices), good sermon. Meaningful.
But the lessons of the night came later.
Went home and poured myself a beer--a porter, with some body to it, because I'd had only a salad for dinner and thicker, darker beer seems nourishing.
But the phone rang and my sister needed help with my mother, who was suddenly in too much pain to stand on her own and couldn't get out of the car at a restaurant, couldn't get out of the car back at her condo.
These kinds of calls are tough. Tough to assess the situation over the phone. Tough to figure out what to do. Tough to remain patient. Tough when what to do means abandoning the couch and the porter, and giving up the sense that the evening is winding down, and heading off into the night. I headed for church, lucky to have keys, to borrow a wheel chair. Found a friend to help out there--help mostly with keeping me patient--and we got my mom inside. She had to walk a little bit to get to the bathroom and whatever had given her so much pain before worked its way out. She was back on her feet--though in need of a doctor appointment.
So I headed home where I had an appointment with my daughter to brush the tangles out of her hair.
My daughter has very long hair that she can't quite take care of on her own. Neglect it long enough and she's headed for dreadlocks. Brushing the tangles out is horrible. I persist while she cries. I try to hold the locks so that the force it takes to get through the matted hair with the comb does not go directly to her scalp. But I don't always succeed. It's miserable, and I don't know why we let it get so bad. But there it is.
Foot-washing looks easy by comparison, even with the kneeling and the scrubbing and Simon Peter protesting. But surely Jesus had his moments with this. Did he keep a straight face with—Bartholomew, say—the disciple with the ugliest, stinkiest feet? Did the water slop on the floor, the towel around his waist get untucked? Did he think, jeez, you guys ought to wash one another's feet— for God's sakes! Was there one of his disciples who just drove him nuts on a regular basis?
He kept on. He served, loved, abandoned the couch and loved them to the end.
Life and love are in those crappy moments.