I 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?”
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.