Recently, following a rather harried week, I made a frivolous decision: I was going to go and get myself a pedicure. I checked the calendar and took off early on Saturday morning to pay a visit to my niece, who is currently in cosmetology school.
In the past when I have gone, it has been with my kids or my sister. The atmosphere then was much more rambunctious than on this morning. This time it was just Sam and me.
As she lifted my foot out of the spa tub, dried it with a towel, and then rubbed it with lotion, I suddenly recalled the image of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. It was a graced moment.
Suddenly, my legs that ache from multiple sclerosis relaxed. It was the best I had felt in a long time. I felt a sense of even more calm than I had gotten at a massage a few months earlier, when the masseuse had unintentionally, but painfully, rubbed my injection sites.
I was struck by the loving nature with which Sam went about her job, a job that, honestly, I would never be able to do.
Later that day, I watched as she lovingly curled my daughter Maddie’s hair, for the fourth day in a row, and fixed her makeup for the school play. Sam often does these things on her own time, and at the last minute.
It is, in so many ways, more than a job for her. It is more like a ministry—a sharing of herself and her talents for the fulfillment of others.
Sam has always had a talent for all things beauty—hair, makeup, nails. It’s her passion. Yet when she graduated from high school, she tried to follow a more traditional educational route. She quickly discovered that, much to the chagrin of many, college
wasn’t for her.
As parents, we often say that all we want is for our children to be truly happy and content, and to use their God-given talents. But often we mean that we want them to be happy and content on our terms, what we think is acceptable.
Stop and think about it. How would you react if your child said he or she wanted to be a plumber, a sanitation worker, an exterminator, or a mechanic? Let’s be honest. Many people tend to view those professions as less than desirable.
Now, try to imagine your life if there were no people to fill those roles. Imagine having no one to fix your heater in the winter or stop a gas leak in your home. These are needed vocations, and we should celebrate and appreciate those who fill them.
Even in our faith life, we often fail to recognize those in the less-than-visible jobs. For instance, do you have any idea who decorates the church for the various seasons? Do you know who takes care of the schedules for the lectors, servers, or distributors?
I’m sure those people do their ministry out of love for it, and not for recognition, but wouldn’t it be nice to say thank you and acknowledge the service he or she provides the Church?
Thank You, God
These days, when I look at my niece Sam, I see a confident, successful, fulfilled young woman who knows who she is and where she’s headed. Isn’t that what we as parents desire?
And so I count myself lucky to be the proud aunt of a soon-to-be cosmetologist, the sister-in-law of a gasline operator and a postal worker, as well as the niece of a stellar heating and air-conditioning repairman and granddaughter of a plumber. I don’t know what I would do without them.