There are many humbling experiences in parenting. Changing diapers is, in my mind, the undisputed and complete king of them. However, the opportunities to do things you normally wouldn’t choose to do for another person don’t stop there.
Take shoe tying and untying, for example. It is a rather simple task for those of us with the dexterity and flexibility to make it possible. However, for our youngest (and some of our eldest) it is a daunting, seemingly impossible task.
Thus, we find ourselves kneeling on the floor in front of them. We find ourselves doing the most menial of tasks for them, once again. And, usually, they are impatiently waiting for us to complete our assigned task. We, the humbled servants, cannot tie the shoes of our mighty children fast enough. Talk about a lesson in humility.
Knelt. Head down. Hands working. Handling dirty shoes.
In our Gospel reading for this week (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22), John the Baptist tells the crowd that he is unworthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. Wait a minute. I suspect (as do a few Biblical commentators) that the task of untying someone’s shoes was not a loftier task than it is today. In fact, it would make you unclean to handle their feet and shoes.
So, for John to say that he can’t touch Jesus’ footwear, well…talk about profound humility. Talk about a deep-rooted awe for whom he expected Jesus to be and what he expected him to do.
Can we put ourselves in a similar situation? Do we have the faith in God’s work to assume that the most humble of tasks are MORE than suitable for our positions in life? That’s a pretty hefty gut-check, to be certain. But, maybe there is something to approaching the Kingdom of God, not with our bold expectations and demands, but with our heads down, on our knees, hands working, and getting some dirt between our nails.