I raised my glass to my lips and quickly noticed my sweet-faced friend across the table mirroring me. I looked to my right and gave a glance to my smallest companion realizing that he was in on it as well. Looking to my left I took note of the mischievous smile developing behind the glass of his sister as she took a drink in response.
They were copying me.
It would be easy to find this scheme inconvenient but at this table for four, it was an honor.
To my left was Gena, with her beautifully plain features and selfless heart. Just a little girl herself, I had watched her take ownership of caring for her two little brothers all week. Whether it was allowing them to sleep in her bed or sharing her reward points to buy them snacks, her care for others radiated through all she did.
Gena and her humble heart for service.
Across our small table shone a long bashful face. Andreea’s even longer hair flowed down her back in a neatly gathered pony tail. Her smile revealed a uniquely adventurous spirit. Unafraid of difference, Andreea gracefully sauntered about our lodge amidst the daily activities, filling the halls with her unique beauty as she incorporated the occasional feathery leap into her stride.
Andreea and her gentle boldness.
Last and tiniest, but certainly not least sat Beni to my right. His goofball smile revealed only his missing front teeth and is paired perfectly with his miniature stature and mischievous approach to life. Every time I saw him, he hugged me so tightly that I often feared the loss of a few internal organs. With a mix of laughter and cries of pain, his hugs drew a wave of pure joy over my heart. He didn’t care if I was having a good day or a bad one, if I was tired or energetic, joyful or frustrated. He was going to give me the biggest hug his petite figure could muster. And when I saw his goofy smile looking up at me, there was nothing more precious to me in that moment.
Beni and his relentless love.
At this table we gathered in fellowship just as Jesus did with his disciples just before the Passover Feast. John 13:5 says that after the meal was over, “he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of washing the children’s feet at summer club. I learned that it is impossible to stay clean and dry in the process. In the same way, as I came close and shared life with these children, it became impossible to ignore or deny the darkness that existed in their lives. The challenges they face in their homes and relationships were abrasively present and at times revealed the brokenness within my own heart.
But there was also something extraordinary that happened as I washed these children’s feet. I began to notice the details. The bumps, the bruises, the plump shape of their toes. I realized that as I bend down to serve others I will certainly get dirty, but I also possess the privilege of seeing God’s handiwork in the most personal way.
Sitting at the table with my three friends, I couldn’t help but take note of the intricately crafted qualities that surrounded me. They sat there mimicking me, but the examples of humble service, unique beauty, and relentless love they reflected back to my heart were the true blessing received at the table that day.
Sara Amos, Summer Venturer, Romania