Thursday, August 7, 2008


I keep this Cassatt print in my Bible. It is an image that comes to mind often, in especially demanding moments and at the end of a long day. Before I had children, I wondered why she had chosen to draw the visual comparison of a mother and child to the Biblical imagery of Christ washing his disciples feet. Didn't it seem a bit presumptuous? A bit martyr-like?
And then I became a mom. The spiritual applications I could draw from this painting are endless.
I had never washed feet before. Now I do, daily. And as I bathe these dirty beautiful little bodies I think of this image, of Christ washing our feet because of how very much He loves us. Before I had children, I never had imagined that I was capable of loving someone so fiercly, so unconditionally. Then I thought my heart would explode after I had my first child for all of the love that was suddenly crammed in there. And I bathe my little girls and marvel that I am even capable of feeling this love, of giving love; that there must be this wild, infinitely tender, outrageous LOVE out there that I can only barely imagine but that it must compare somehow to the way I feel as a mom.
So then Christ tells us now to wash one another's feet and I can't help but think, ick. Baby feet, you kiss them and play with them and sing little songs to them. Grown-up feet? Just gross. Then this painting comes to my mind again, for the other startling discovery that having children has given me: everybody was somebody's baby. Every mean nasty person, someone's child. Every judgmental, egotistical, self-pitying person? A baby once. Every person who I find difficult to love, was kissed and cooed to and bounced by some mother who adored him every bit as much as I adore my babies. Or maybe they weren't. And there's another reason why he is who he is and why I ought to love him.
God give me eyes to see the precious child in every person, like you see.

4 comments:

heather of the EO said...

I love what you've said here. Thank you for taking the time to share it. So true and so well said.

charrette said...

I love this post! I'm so glad Heather sent me a link.
My grandmother had this painting hanging in her home. It's one of my favorites. I've probably looked at it ten thousand times. And yet I never noticed the biblical parallel you pointed out. So beautiful. And the plea to see everyone as the babies and children they once were? priceless. Thank you.

charrette said...

You should consider submitting this to the Bloggers Annex. (There's a link on my blog).

Brillig said...

Came here through the award that Charrette gave you on her site. Congrats-- well deserved! SUCH a beautiful post.