Let me tell you about my dream. This is not Martin Luther King type dreaming, but unconscious during the six or seven hours of the night type dreaming. The dream I had last night was very short, just the one scene and very heartbreaking. It has been on my mind ever since I woke up. Basically all that happened is Mark, the pastor of our church, approached me with the intention of washing my feet. He had a bowl of water and a towel and he wanted to wash my feet. I know that I really didn’t want him to. When I eventually took my shoes and socks off, my feet were in an awful state. They were filthy with callouses and corns. The nails were long and ingrained with dirt. The smell was awful. They were awful. It was awful. Like I had spent my life walking through cow pats and across sharp pebbles. Somewhere deep inside of me, although I was asleep, there was this wee bit of woken up brain that was shouting – “My feet are not like that! There is no way these are my feet.” In the dream they were my feet and I was very ashamed. Ashamed that they were in that state and ashamed that Mark could see it all. I sat there and I cried. There have been times in my life when I have felt very ashamed of what I have said or done, but this kind of shame was just off the scale. I think I cried so hard in my dream that I was crying in the real world too. Anyway, Mark just knelt down in front of me and started to wash off all the grime. He never spoke a word, never once turned away. He just ever so gently, tenderly and lovingly washed away all the dirt. I looked down at Mark and I saw that he was crying too. Crying because he understood how ashamed I felt. Crying because I was in such a mess and he just wanted to help. It was an emotional dream. That was it.
I woke up and the first thing that I thought was they were not my feet. I was sitting with God brooding as I often do when I have had a dream like this. It was hanging over me like a cloud.
I began to think about it. The shoes and the socks were a cover up for the real problem and how often with people we cover up. I had been reading the early chapters of Genesis of how Adam and Eve hid form God to cover their shame. How often do we try to cover up our problems in front of the very people God has asked us to be transparent with? We would be very ashamed if people really knew everything about us that there is to know. I am not saying that we should tell them every little secret thought. Sometimes staying silent is the wise thing to do. This washing the feet thing was so intimate it was scary, but God wants us to be intimate with him and with other people.
The way that Mark dealt with me in the dream spoke volumes. We are supposed to deal with all kinds of people – people that have walked through the cow-pats of life, dirt and grime in the cracks and crevices of their lives. The mess they have got themselves into is heartbreaking. I don’t cry enough or grieve enough over the state people are in. They hurt and a voice inside says “It is your own fault. You made choices and see where it has got you.” I was incredibly humbled by what Mark did in the dream. Humbled that he didn’t chastise or rant and rave, but just washed my feet and cried because I was hurting. The dream was so very real that I couldn’t face seeing Mark at church this morning. I was convinced that he had seen these horrible feet and I was still ashamed. I know it sounds very silly, and it was just a dream, but it was very powerful.