Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A precious moment

If you've read any of my posts about Zac's, you'll know, I hope, that it's a special place. Last night, in that special place, there was a very precious moment.

Glenn and Ros came over from Australia a few years ago. They came to Britain without really knowing why, except that they believed it was the place they were meant to be. When they arrived they heard about Zac's, and they've been here ever since, providing much-needed support for Sean. They're a lovely couple: Ros is open and chatty while Glenn's quieter (on the surface).

Well, last night we were continuing with the study of John's gospel and we'd reached chapter 13. Judy, a rough sleeper, was completely plastered. (See glossary in side bar.) Usually she sleeps but last night she was particularly vocal. She was interrupting every two minutes although, strangely enough, her questions, on the whole, were sensible (-ish). Terry was also there. He's another rough sleeper, who knows a lot about local history (or he knows one bit and tells us often) and current affairs, and likes to share his opinions, including the fact that 'we're all sinners, see.' Fair enough.

One or the other, and Sean can usually cope and we can progress through the study; last night Judy and Terry inadvertently worked together to cause total mayhem. Things weren't helped by Ruby who was sitting next to Judy and alternated between shushing her and having the giggles.

Judy, Terry and Ruby also took it in turns to go outside. It was a very warm evening so some people were saying 'leave the door open' and others wanted it closed. When it was open, the noise of the talking outside added to the disturbance; when it was closed, it only stayed closed until someone came in again.

Like April who came in to walk through the room to go to the toilet. Followed by Joe who went through to the corridor to rummage amongst the secondhand clothes bag for items that would fit him.

None of this bothers me - it just makes me smile - but there are some more fragile souls in the room who can't handle the disruption and get edgy, and Sean is aware of this.

So I think it was just after April had been to the toilet that Glenn got up and headed for the kitchen. Sean carried on trying to answer Judy's question about what humility means.

When Glenn came back he was carrying a bowl of water and some soap. He crossed the room, knelt at Judy's feet and asked if he could wash them for her. He took off her shoes and socks and gently bathed her feet.

Sean didn't have to say anything else about the story of Jesus bathing his disciples' feet that we'd been trying to look at. He just prayed.

Afterwards Glenn said he'd done it partly because he could see that Sean was struggling and that he thought it might shut her up. She was certainly over-awed - but she began singing 'Jesus loves me this I know.'

Judy refused to put her dirty socks back on afterwards (and they weren't any spare ones in the store). She'd been washed; her feet were clean; she wasn't going to besmirch them with soiled garments.

I asked Glenn later if it had been horrid. 'Oh yes,' he shuddered.

I heard someone say, 'Well we didn't get far tonight, did we?' I just smiled. I wanted say, 'Not far? Didn't you see? We got to heaven.'


stillers said...

Heaven indeed! Thanks Liz.

Mauigirl said...

Awesome story, Liz. What a special way to calm the disruption and truly act out faith.