The basin and the towel

The tools of service

The Basin and the Towel

Every once in a while I start a doodle without knowing exactly where I’m going- honesty cops say stop that sentence and start again. Every once in a while I start a doodle knowing exactly where I am going with it, but most of the time I learn as I draw. This week is an example of that with a dose of meta.

Two weeks ago I taught a teen program at a family camp. It was a great energizing/exhausting time that inspired last week’s wheat post. In the middle of the week I did a lesson on water and we all washed each others’ feet. If you’re not a Christian (and even if you are) you may not have ever experienced this, but it is a humbling activity that Christ gave us an example of being  leader by being a servant. Non-Christian equivalents are easy to find for nurses (they have to do all sorts of humbling but incredibly important things) and parents (diapers) but for those that aren’t any of the above I am sure that you have had a time when you swallowed your pride and put someone else first (if you haven’t then check with your therapist to see if you are a narcissist).

I decided to draw a pitcher with a basin and towel to represent serving. As I drew I threw in a window to add interest to the composition, and decided to leave the space in the window blank to represent hope. The blank would let people fill in with their own ideal of hope and personalize the drawing. As I started shading I realized something. Putting the light source in the background would shift the shadows to the foreground. Suddenly the basin and towel weren’t so light and cheery.

Being honest to the drawing I continued to shade and think about doing another composition that wouldn’t be so dark, but I changed my mind. Our foot washing service was invigorating and once everyone got past the embarrassment (and tickleshness) of the act it was really an uplifting time, but not all service is.

Sometimes it’s really hard to keep wiping the grunge off others’ feet or changing the 189th diaper of the day (we have two boys that love to fill them diapers (even still 189 is some hyperbole)), but it’s still important to keep going even in the shadow. However, this isn’t supposed to be a depressing post so remember that the light of the window is there and even when the basing is dark the rim is light.

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3 Responses to The basin and the towel

  1. Lori says:

    Interesting image and I love the thought process that goes into the work.
    I also appreciate how you extrapolate from life those incidents of service that are performed outside of the Christian experience. We all serve somebody and when we serve with grace, God smiles.

  2. adrienne says:

    The sketch and the post are beautiful. Nicely done.

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