Pete’s Feet

“We have to do something about Pete’s feet!” Don called me at my office early on a Monday morning. Pete, somewhere in his seventies and mute due to multiple strokes, lived on the street, declining most interventions. He had, however, been befriended by Don and his employees, who made sure Pete had warm clothes, and that he got lunch every day. Over the weekend, they had noticed that Pete was obviously having discomfort while walking, and had managed to get his boots off. “It was horrible! They’re swollen, oozing, and the nails….we need to help him,” Don continued.

I arranged an evaluation with the podiatrist downstairs, who found Pete’s nails had grown to be several inches long, curving and wrapping themselves under, and around adjoining toes. Walking must have been torture, as the nails cut into the skin at several places. After the doctor spent an hour clipping, filing and moisturizing, Pete slipped on his boots, smiled and gave a thumbs up.

John 13 4-5, 13-15: “and laying aside his garments, and taking a towel, he girded himself about.
Then he poured water into the basin and begain to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. ‘You call me teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the teacher washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.’”

Pete died quietly a month later, but for that last month, thanks to those “washed his feet” he walked in comfort, and I can picture him now, giving them all a “thumbs up.”