Written versions of a poem have been coming to me for many years. And yet the one verse that has stayed pretty much the same through all of my revisions is this one below. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I finally realized what it was about!
I was on the telephone with my ninety-seven year old mother who lives in an assisted living facility. She began describing, with amazement and some embarrassment, how the workers sat down on the floor to cut her toenails and massage her feet. This was very humbling for my proud mother. Their doing that reminded her of Jesus, she said, when he washed the disciples’ feet.
Washing and anointing feet with oil was a custom in Jesus time, but it was also something done by a servant or a helper. So Jesus shocked the disciples when he laid his robes aside and wrapped a towel around his waist, as a servant would do. When he was done, Jesus said, “I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do” (CEBJohn 13:1-15).
Serving others is what leads us to abandon our pride and self-focus—our aspirations and pretensions. That’s why the most restful and grace-filled life, for a Christian or anyone else, necessarily calls us to help others in kind and humble ways. Empathy and compassion, self-knowledge and self-abandonment, come to us with God’s grace. They are our “eternal calling.” When we’re down on the floor or on our knees, we don’t need to worry about “falling”! It’s a restful place to be, comfortably humble, down there with the Lord.
Please, Lord, Show me my eternal calling. Pour it over me anew, The grace that keeps me from falling, The restful Spirit that’s you. (Living Calm 2016)