My friend, I learned, while I was in Dallas, Texas keeping my grandson, wanted to have a foot spa for her landmark birthday. That week my focus had been to enjoy Will and to do anything his little heart desired, including not riding in a car seat for any length of time. When I heard that I would need to drive a good 20 minutes to buy the foot spa gift certificate, I knew it was not on his fun list. Since there were no other options the two of us set out after his afternoon nap.
The foot spa was Asian owned and was located in a strip mall. When I walked into the spa it was dark, except for low, dim lights on the side walls. Along one wall, there were ten large, cushioned chairs filled with customers enjoying the soft Far East music. Men and women of all ages were experiencing their moments of peace and relaxation. Little Will was nestled on my hip when one of the proprietors came up to us, smiling and gesturing with his hands. He spoke no English. I started my antics of trying to communicate. I shook my head when he tried to direct the two of us to the only open chair along the wall. Pointing to a piece of paper and mimicking holding a pen I tried to communicate that I wanted a gift certificate. His friendly wife came up and I started the same routine all over. Finally, they understood that I didn’t want to stay. My Will was doing fine watching all the action, until the sweet, smiling wife clapped her small hands and wanted to hold him. He will go to almost anyone, but I could tell that this might not go well. She was missing a few teeth and spoke in an unknown language, otherwise she was really friendly. It didn’t take three seconds before the quietness and serenity of the place was jolted with the loudest scream you have ever heard. Men and women looked up with shock and disbelief. Their peaceful experience was disappearing before their eyes. Will’s crying didn’t stop quickly. I finally grabbed my gift certificate and ran out past the disgruntled customers. Their karma had been broken.
A couple of thoughts have come from this experience. The first one, is how fast things can change in our lives. One moment you are having a blissful experience. The next you are stressed. Sudden changes are not always negative. For example, if you were a contestant on the TV game show, “The Price is Right” and won a trip to Mexico, the tacky dining room suite or the new car you would be okay to jump around, do cartwheels and scream, “I can’t believe it!” This would be a good, jolting and exhilarating change. We feel the same way when after an extended time a wonderful friend or a family member surprises us with a visit. It is easy to say, “I can’t believe it” and embrace these surprises in our lives.
Some changes jolt us and send us into another direction. They are harder to deal with because when we say, “I can’t believe it”, there is no joy or excitement. Changes can run the gauntlet, including the death of a loved one, loss of a job or a plane flying into a building in the middle of New York City. Trying to get our hearts and minds around these changes leaves us with jolted minds and bodies. We cannot predict our responses when we aren’t in control. We may stand mute in disbelief and at other times we may just babble.
The other take away from my foot spa experience was the way one year old, Will, felt no need to hold back screaming his little head off. As we get older, we learn that we don’t get this luxury. I learned this in a painful way when I was still in elementary school. I did not go around wailing, but I was called “crybaby”. I hated it. I hated it like other people hate being teased and called “fatty”, “sissy” or “beanpole”. Looking back, I was sensitive and tender, but I learned that this nickname was not going to go well. I remember the effort put into not crying. This worked well for being accepted into the right social circles, but it also left me with a handicap. When we try to cover up parts of who we really are and become what we think others want us to be, we lose parts of ourselves. Holding back on our emotions and feelings may not even be a conscious decision. Most people find it easier to not have a a crying, emotional person on their hands.
The changes in my life and my emotions are understood by the Lord. He is in all the changes that are going on outside of my world. He is present in the changes that are going on inside me. Some lessons I would not choose, but God deems me worthy of these and keeps working on the rough edges of my life and my emotions.
The next time I am with my grandson I will listen to his cries. He has his real, honest cries and funny, fake cries. There will come a time that he want be able to use these cries as his mode of communication. I pray that as he puts words to his life and emotions he will not loose what is going on inside him and he will know that God has made him unique and special.
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 (NIV)
2 thoughts on “The Chinese Foot Spa”
That Revelation 7:17 moment will be so awesome and wonderful to look forward to. I could just picture your experience having Will on your hip and trying to accomplish this task. I could also visualize the moment when he started crying and how you wanted to finish quickly so you wouldn’t disturb those who were relaxing. Mothers and Grandmothers understand these moments so well. 😳 Thank you for faithfully sharing the gift of writing that God has given you.😄
Thank you, Sharon, for your encouragement!