Artist’s Reflection: Anointed
When I was little, I would run around my grandparents’ yard barefoot, playing tag, basketball, or intense battles of tetherball. All of the residue from my adventures would stick to the bottoms of my feet until they almost became one with the ground.
I would come inside, and my grandmother would quickly call me to the bathroom so she could wipe my feet off with a warm washrag. I loved the feeling of the warm water against my feet, the texture of the washrag scratching away the grime of the day, and the hands of my grandmother lovingly squeezing my feet.
When I was preparing to paint this image, I propped my phone up against a wall, started recording, and knelt down on the ground pretending I was washing Jesus’ feet. My face was close to the ground with all the dust and dog hair that clings to my rug and I began to run my fingers through my hair, washing an imaginary foot. My dog Rumi came over, plopped herself down in front of me, and I began to pretend wash her paws. I giggled to myself and called to my husband, asking if he’d lend his feet to the scene. I quickly said to him, “But please don’t take your shoes off.” I didn’t want to experience his feet that close to my face; after all it was winter and feet tend to be a little more ripe after a long day in wooly socks.
I began to rub my hair over his booted feet and I felt this profound sense of vulnerability and discomfort. The image of me kneeling as my husband sat in a comfortable chair was a difficult one for me to see reflected back at me on my phone. I wasn’t even willing to fake wash my husband’s bare feet. The amount of love it took to do this act willingly seems astronomical to me. I then asked my husband to take his shoes off. As I rubbed my hair on his feet I felt like crying.
This is the posture that Jesus calls all of us into; a profoundly uncomfortable, shockingly reverent position; coming face to face, intimately engaging with the residue of Christ’s footsteps to smell and almost taste the journey of Christ.
—lauren wright pittman