Below is a reflection paper written by a DePaul student who volunteered at our monthly foot clinic in April, 2014. It is a great privilege to be able to provide our foot clinic for our community but also for our volunteers – giving them a different kind of serving opportunity than they would find most other places. It is encouraging to read how this one student processes her experience. It is our hope that she is better equipped now to live a lifestyle of restoration!
I really enjoyed my experience at the JUSTembrace Foot Care Clinic last Saturday. Initially, I was very apprehensive and hesitant about the service we were asked to do. I’m not really a fan of my own feet let alone a stranger’s. I had initially told myself that I would be a runner so I would not have to participate in the actual touching of the guest’s feet. However, the introduction and background as to why the foot care clinic exists made a profound impact on the way I viewed the service we would be providing.
I never took the time to realize that the guests had been put in a place of great vulnerability by allowing a stranger to wash their feet. After reading the biblical story about Jesus and his disciples at the last supper and hearing about the context of the story, our service became more than scrubbing feet. Our service expressed mutual respect and dignity that our guests may frequently be robbed of. I had decided to take an active role in the washing rather than cleaning or running materials back and forth.
I worked with a woman named Emma who had expressed that she had a tingling and burning sensation up and down her legs and feet for the past six moths. She shared that doctors were unable to determine the cause of her condition and she is still awaiting the results of many blood tests. After I finished working on her feet, Emma shared that the massaging helped to relive some of the burning sensation. I felt so blessed to have been able to relive her pain and just to share a conversation with her.
Before she left the foot care clinic, I had asked if she had any plans for the remainder of the day. She immediately looked down and quietly said “Oh no. But, I sure wish I did”.
It isn’t uncommon for me to hear comments that individuals who are experiencing homelessness are just lazy and don’t want to work. However, it was evident that many other people like Emma did not wish to be put in the financial state they are currently in.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at the clinic and I feel unbelievably blessed to have impacted another person’s day.