At forty-five years old, I just recently had my first real professional massage. I know to some of you massage connoisseurs this seems absurd. But it’s true. I don’t normally go in for that sort of thing. It’s just too touchy feely for me, in a strange sort of way. BUT, my husband and I sat through one of those resort presentations in Mexico and our reward was this free couple’s massage. Okay. We decided to give it a whirl.
I honestly had no idea what to expect. We showed up at the spa, were ushered into separate changing areas, and told to remove our clothes (what?!), and put on a robe and slippers provided by the spa. Yikes. I was standing alone in a small locker room area. I didn’t see a private changing room, so I made like Super Man, and in a mad dash, jerked off my clothes and slid into their robe and slippers. My stress level went up a bit.
About the time I had stowed my clothes in the locker provided, the door opened and I was escorted, with Matthew, to a room with ambient lighting and reclining chairs where we were treated to a warm neck wrap that smelled of eucalyptus. It was then that I heard the sound of Enya style music and running water. About that time I realized I needed to pee. Good grief.
After just a few moments of relaxing in the chairs, we met our masseuses. (Masseusi? Masseurs?) They spoke to us in very quiet voices and gently led us to our massage room. We chose the scented oil we liked best, and were told to remove our robes and slippers, climb up onto the tables, lie face down, and cover ourselves with the sheets. More music and running water sounds.
When we were ready for our masseurs to come back, she showed us how to ring these two little cymbals. A string connected them, and when she lifted the string in the middle, the two cymbals rang like a dainty bell. We were to ring them once, and that would be the signal for them to return for our massages. Okay.
After we had climbed up onto the tables and covered ourselves, I saw the cymbals on my table. I reached out with my right hand to lift and ring them, but did not factor in how difficult that would be from my face down position. Instead of ringing it daintily as she had, it sounded more like I was ringing the dinner bell at the OK Corral. “Come and get it!” To their credit, the masseurs came in and were not laughing. I cannot say the same for Matthew and me.
There was a circle covered with towels at the head of the table for me to put my face in. After readjusting my position a couple of times, I still couldn’t quite figure out how to breathe through it. I did the best I could. My masseur leaned in close and asked me if I was comfortable.
I was lying naked under a sheet on table in a room with two strangers, one of whom was about to lift the sheet, and I still had to pee.
I said, “yes”.
She began by massaging through the sheet. That was pretty good. She was using something warm. Then she rolled the sheet back to my derriere. Oh my. She did a great job, but my twenty-five minute massage lasted about fifteen minutes longer than I really was up for. Near the end, she placed a hot rock in each of my hands. I’m still at a loss on that one.
Four dings of the cymbals signaled our massage was done. The ladies left the room and Matthew and I climbed down from the tables, and put on our robes. Back in the locker room, I noticed a door at the end. I walked down to it, opened it and discovered… a changing room… I used it that time.
I don’t see myself getting massages regularly now. It was an interesting experience, but it’s just not my thing. It’s all very quiet and serene and restful. Everyone whispered, and no one rushed. (Except me undressing in the locker room) The goal being to encourage relaxation. It’s just not in my usual nature to allow someone to serve me to that extent or that intimately.
I like to keep my walls up. I rarely enjoy being exposed. (figuratively or literally)
When Jesus washed His disciples feet, they must have felt exposed. (John 13:1-17) Their feet probably needed washing. I would imagine none of them had enjoyed a pedicure. Their feet were likely quite dirty from walking in sandals across dirt/sand roadways in the heat of the day. None of us wants to present ourselves that way to Jesus. But Jesus wasn’t really interested in making sure His disciples were clean physically, His washing of their feet was a symbolic gesture, He wanted them clean spiritually. For that to happen, we have to get uncomfortable with Jesus. We have to expose Him to our uncomfortable places. We have to let him pull the sheet back on the dirty places in our hearts so that He can wash them clean. If we want to be a part of Him, it’s just part of the deal. Then we must turn and serve one another in the same way. We have to be willing to put ourselves in that lowly position, and serve one another.