Even as a child I hated children. I saw them as messengers from Satan. He planted mockery in their moist minds and it bloomed out of their mouths and I kept that vile bloom in a vase. I grew up changing the water, giving it fertilizer, keeping it alive. Until as an adult I hated children.
Then God asked me to move into this community house, in a neighborhood swarming with children.
“God!” I laughed, “You are so funny.”
“I am,” He replied, “But now I’m serious.”
God has a sense of humor, but I have no sense, so often he is reduced to a running joke, which runs me over until I understand.
“God!” I shouted, “I’ll move in. Are you happy?”
“I am,” He replied, “Now do it.”
So I did. I took things down and put them up. I lifted things up and set them down. I sat down and I stood up. I thought, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know why I’m doing it.
And the children came unto me. Loudly.
Actually, they came unto a weekly bible club. It’s led by my 4 housemates, who in personality and/or appearance resemble a Doberman Pinscher, a Border Collie, a Golden Retriever and a Beagle. They make a good team.
I am the Chihuahua. At every child’s squeal, my eyes bulge and my body trembles.
This week the leader is talking about how even though Jesus was God, He washed the feet of people. Even those He didn’t like. Even His enemies.
The leader requests that the children remove their socks. After reveling in a theatrical ecstasy of disgust, they do. He takes old ice cream buckets and fills them with water. His big hands lower their little feet into the water. Their squeals sound different.
“Could I wash someone’s feet?’ I say, but none of us hear me.
I watch and wait. I wait and watch. Long, longer, too long, long enough.
“Could I wash someone’s feet?’ I say again.
“Oh, I don’t think there’s anyone left,” The leader says.
Sadness settles around my heart. Something was opened for a moment, and I didn’t enter it. The children did.