At the time of my wife’s passing, a certain close friend was seemingly indifferent (I thought even cavalier) about my loss. From what he said, I was strong, she was in a better place, my caregiving was over, I could get on with life. Those exact words were not said, but that was the message.
He didn’t know it, but it spoiled our relationship. I thought he would have understood that I would sorely miss caring for Nancy (which gave me purpose) and her presence (which gave me peace).
Two and a half years passed. It was Maundy Thursday, and a foot washing service was scheduled for that evening. A friend who was going to be one of the twelve to have his feet washed called and asked if I would take his place. He said he was not feeling well. I said yes indeed I would take his place.
The moment came in the service for the foot washing. I got up from my pew and walked to one of the twelve chairs facing the congregation. I removed my right shoe and sock. The man who had been my “cavalier” friend at Nancy’s passing came forward to wash my foot. My heart began to thumb.
He knelt and washed my foot; then looking up into my eyes, he said said softly, “Thank you, Norman.” His face was angelic. I had never seen such an expression on his face. Kindness, compassion, and love exuded from every pore. In that instant, I felt 30 years younger and light as a feather. It’s impossible to fully describe. A mammoth weight was gone. Joy returned.
What if my friend who was scheduled to have his feet washed that night had not been ill? What if he had asked someone else to take his place? God is the details. His providence is perfect. Always.
Norman is a long time resident of Mobile AL where he served as a local church pastor and continues as an influential leader in the faith community. He remains the devoted husband of Nancy, now with the Lord. They have one daughter and two grandchildren.