Blinded by Cucumbers: A Lesson in Communion

Spa night wasn't supposed to be communion--but that's what happened. via @blestbutstrestI really didn’t want to go to spa night at our church. I’m not into girly night out stuff—I’d rather curl up in a comfy chair and read a good book or spend some quality time with my husband (not necessarily in that order). The Women’s Ministries leader had passed out beautiful invitations, but I didn’t RSVP. On Friday, she asked me in person if I’d be coming. I answered with a non-committal, “I’ll come if we’re here. I don’t know what Pedro has in mind.”

And then my daughter told me she was thinking of going. And since she doesn’t know many people, I thought I should go along to be supportive. We spent the day out hiking and helping some stranded explorers, and made it home in plenty of time for spa night. I couldn’t get out of it. In addition, I’ve made a resolution to go deeper this year: for me, that means deepening relationship with acquaintances–the kind one finds at church.

And so I went, albeit with internal grumbling and prodding that I hoped only I knew about. The Women’s Ministries group had magically transformed Room C into a glimmering retreat of lights, candles, flowers and marvelous smells. I sank onto a sheet-covered sagging sofa and tossed a desultory “How are you?” at the lady relaxing next to me. We chatted for a few minutes and established that we both suffered from tiredness (a chronic side-effect of working at a boarding school) but that we had also both enjoyed a beautiful hike outdoors.

The Women’s Ministries leader welcomed us and explained that we could start with a facial or begin snacking on the comfort food, or make scrubs, room fresheners or bath salts using the essential oils and the other supplies provided. I decided to start on creating something, and bypass the corner table with gooey facial concoctions. I didn’t know any of the other women well enough to want to get all gooped up in front of them. I smelled all the oils (and discovered that all of the ones I liked my daughter thought smelled like something an old lady would wear) and chose a recipe for a lip scrub.

Whilst mixing my concoction, one of my students came up and asked if she could give me a facial. Somehow, I’d missed the memo that freshmen girls would be our spa attendants for the evening. I swallowed my grimace and said, “Sure, just as soon as I finish my lip scrub.” I’m not much into other people touching my face or my hair or getting too close to me—especially a student—someone I knew in the context of the classroom where I had to cajole, discipline and reprimand. But the hopeful look on her face convinced me I should let her provide this service for me—even though it felt uncomfortable.

When I finished my lip scrub, she led me back to the sheet-covered sofa and invited me to sit. She brought me the facial recipe cards so that I could choose which goop I wanted on my face. She even offered to read the ingredients when I laughingly explained that I’d need to put my glasses back on in order to read the words. After I chose the avocado-banana facial goo, she said, “Just sit back and relax, Mrs. Ojeda. I can do this.”

She proceeded to paint my face with chilly goo, anoint my eyes with cucumber slices and massage my hands with scented oil. At times, other girls would come by and gently pick up my hands and massage them. Their tenderness surprised me and brought tears to my cucumber-covered eyes. And then she asked, “Would you like me to soak your feet?”And they #ministered to my feet.  And it was a holy experience.  via @blestbutstrest #InspireMeMonday #oneword365

Soaking my feet in warm, scented water seemed harmless enough, so I consented and sank even deeper into the old sofa and let the chatter and soft music form a bubble around me while the cool cucumbers kept me blind to the activity around me.

I slipped off my sandals and socks and waited for her to bring the basin of water, expecting to have a simple foot soak. Instead, she gently lifted each foot into the water, let them soak in bath salts for a few minutes and then began to scrub them with a foot scrub, all the while exclaiming, “Your feet are so soft!”

“You haven’t reached my heels yet,” I joked. And when her hands applied the scrub to my scaly heels, she remained silent—scrubbing vigorously yet gently. Another student joined her, and I clenched my abs in order to hold both feet up in the air as my spa attendants instructed.

And they ministered to my feet. And it was a holy experience. (tweet this) Not what I expected when I reluctantly went to spa night. Each of these girls has had at least one clash of wills with me over violating the dress code at school, having to come to detention because they failed to do their homework, disturbing class with their note passing or cackling or violent outbursts.

While I am the one who knows the joy of salvation and tries to walk with Jesus every day, they are the ones who ministered to me. Not one of them has ever had the privilege of going to a real spa, and they come from a poverty of family and finances that I have never known and can only imagine from the spare statements they drop in casual conversation or write in their English journals.

And yet they gave. They gave their time, their sweet personalities, their sense of humor and their gentle touch to wash a bunch of old ladies’ feet on a Saturday night. I arrived grumbly, but I left humbly.

What or who inspires you this Monday?

Inspire Me Monday Instructions
What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!

Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememonday. Join us! (tweet this)

So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!

Take a moment to visit the other hostesses, too! Angie, Cindy, and Denise.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • What a wonderful post. I suffer from many of the same feelings that you described. Bless those girls for opening your eyes (even though they were covered with cucumbers)
    Paula recently posted…A Bit of Time in the Kitchen.My Profile

    • They are sweethearts under their gritty shell that they hide behind, that’s for sure! Thanks for stopping by, Paula!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • Ohmigoodness! This looks like so much fun… I find that over and over again, when I just do something I end up having a good time afterall. So glad you followed through… (your daughter was your road to the blessing!) Brava!
    Julie Jordan Scott recently posted…Madeleine L’Engle on Responding to Life’s Irrational Moments – 14 Writing & Creative PromptsMy Profile

    • I need a lot of pushing and prodding to do things out of my comfort zone, so having adventurous daughters is a true blessing!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • Anita! Wow. I truly don’t know what to say.


    Thank you for sharing your testimony. As a teacher, it is difficult to balance relationships between students in church vs. in the classroom. This. Is. Beautiful.

    I am so glad you chose to go. I needed to hear this.
    Carrie Ann Tripp (@CarrieAnnTripp) recently posted…Sip and SayMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you stopped, by Carrie–it’s always nice to meet a fellow teacher! It is a delicate balance, isn’t it? Especially when you live and work and go to church all in the same place. One thing this experience has taught me is that it’s ok to be vulnerable. Not comfortable to be vulnerable, but definitely ok ;).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • Anita … This touched me somewhere deep … Tears are pooling and I’m not quite sure why. All I can say is thanks. And as I wander off to get something to eat, maybe I can figure out what’s going on for me.

    Linda@Creekside recently posted…In Which We Offer Wide Open PraiseMy Profile

    • Maybe our tears come from the same place–the realization that it’s ok to let others minister to us. I’m so accustomed to being the caregiver/nurturer/answerer of all questions/mommy person that other people’s offers to help me always move me in strange ways that produce tears :).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • Anita, I so enjoyed reading this. It is amazing how something as simple as this can minister so deeply to our souls. It can be so difficult to simply be & receive & yet, we need this more than we are willing to recognize or admit. Thank you for sharing so openly. Blessings!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Change and HopeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Joanne :). I think recognizing and admitting that we need help makes us feel that we’re not living up to our crazy super-woman expectations for ourselves (and we could all lose our capes 😉 ).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • I don’t think I’ve ever read anything from you that I didn’t like, but this one I especially love!
    Susan Shipe recently posted…five minute friday: sendMy Profile

  • it is embarassing how much i saw myself in this post! one way GOD used circumstances to work on me a few years ago was to allow a 4 year flare up in my epilepsy that kept me from driving of course! i had to accept help from people who, among other things, were worse drivers than i am. it was sometimes scary, but mostly humbling to accept help and allow them to minister to me as appreciation for years of ministry to them.

    some of us get stuck trying to be brave or carry our own loads that we don’t allow others to help us when it is totally appropriate to let others help us…and to not allow them to help is downright prideful!

    it was a period of humbling and a time of getting to know women i tho’t i knew for years, in a new way. very enriching and life changing.
    martha brady recently posted…I HAVE A DREAM…My Profile

    • You are spot-on, Martha! It’s not easy to accept help from others–it’s humbling and life-changing and when we turn down assistance, we’re robbing others of an opportunity to serve. Thank you for stopping by and linking up!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • This was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. How many times do we stubbornly refuse others help…and not allow someone to bless us…I am so guilty of this and am learning to quietly submit to others as to the Lord. I am being nothing short of disobedient when I refuse another persons help. I am self-sufficient and don’t want to show my weaknesses…really? You have beautifully challenged my heart in this area. Thank you.
    Dianna DiGiacoma recently posted…Tuesday at Ten…{{GRIEF}}…My Profile

  • Donne

    I agree completely with Dianna. Some times (and more often than we would like) we need to allow other people to bless us with their acts of service. It is very difficult when one is used to being “the strong one”, the one who can do it all, to step back and allow others to help. I experienced this when I was restricted from lifting more than 10 pounds for a full year after 2 abdominal surgeries. Can you imagine? The door at the store, I quickly found, requires about 60 pounds of pull pressure to open, so that was out unless someone opened it for me or I pushed the handicapped button 🙁 . Having to solicit strangers’ help to get laundry detergent into the shopping cart at Costco, and then again into the car. Having to ask the guys to stop what they’re doing and lift a pan of beans off the stove and bring it over to the sink. I was completely humbled – and my guys rose to the challenge, bless their hearts.

    • I hear you! I don’t think I would make a good patient at all–I’m not good at accepting help graciously, but I’m learning. I glad those boys stepped up to the plate and helped carry your burdens :).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I am touched and feel myself moved to tears!
    Leah recently posted…Why I Have a DreamMy Profile

  • I’m so glad you were able to go to the spa night and be encouraged. I have gone to a few Women’s ministry events in the past thinking why am I even wasting my time. And I always leave feeling encouraged and blessed. 🙂
    Amanda recently posted…Sent of to WarMy Profile

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one to need prodding to get out of the house for social events ;). Like you, I come away blessed and refreshed.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • I can relate to not wanting to go to spa night! LOL

    That said, I love teen girls. They confound me sometimes, but they can be so sweet, caring, and eager to learn and serve. I’m glad you got to see another side to the girls on spa night. It’s always fun to see how people behave outside their “normal” setting.
    Lynnae McCoy recently posted…School Lunch on a Stick – Because Everything is Better on a Stick!My Profile

  • Love this. How beautiful! I’m so glad you shared this precious story of giving, and grace, and blessing. What a gift for you and for us!
    Julie Lefebure recently posted…When Life Doesn’t Go As PlannedMy Profile

    • It was a huge gift–just what I needed, even though I didn’t know I needed it :). God is like that.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • Wow. This story makes me so happy. And what beautiful writing! Thank you for this inspiration. (How did the lip scrub turn out?)
    Laura recently posted…Five Tips On Getting Things DoneMy Profile

    • I scrubbed a little too hard with the lip scrub ;). Otherwise, it’s really cool! Next time I’ll be gentler on my lips!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Safety: RedefinedMy Profile

  • That is so sweet. I know it must have taken a lot for you to step out of your comfort zone and participate in an activity like that. Spa things make you very vulnerable, the no make-up, and like you talked about with the feet… yeah. It sounds like that might have been part of what it really was about though in God’s plan. Going deeper with these girls, allowing them to minister to you and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with them. By the way, thanks for helping me out with my technical problems yesterday. Bleh! Glad that’s over for both us. No more website problems in Jesus name! Amen? 😉
    Messy Mom recently posted…What Am I Doing?My Profile

  • I love this. It’s crazy how sometimes letting ourselves be minister to can be so hard, and yet lovely how that humbling brings the most tender rewards.
    Colleen Mitchell recently posted…5 Things Our Sons Need to Hear TooMy Profile

  • Kinda late to the party,but I am so glad that you decided to go and were blessed by those sweet girls! 🙂
    Tobi@SimplyJesus recently posted…The One with All the Faith, Hope and Love. {John 3:18-36}My Profile