Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Third Thursday

Last Thursday, I spent the evening at a spa. It was a full-service spa—facials, pedicures, manicures, massages—the works! Everywhere I turned, I watched clusters of women engaged in the art of pampering.

Ironically, this “spa” was located in a residential center for young girls—a secured dorm of 13 -17 year olds. These girls live in this home because they have been placed there by the courts—either because they have gotten into trouble or were taken from abusive homes.

Every third Thursday of the month, a team from my church visits with these young women. We have been doing so for nearly a year. At first, the girls were wary and mistrusting. Now that they know us, and know that we keep coming back, they greet us with big hugs and warm welcomes.

This week, the girls were pitched with excitement when they discovered our plans—a spa with all the accouterments (minus sharp objects and appliances that could be used as weapons). We set up stations in every corner of the room: footbaths, massages, pedicures, makeovers and manicures.

As the spa opened for service, to my left I saw one of our team on the floor, kneeling by a young resident whose feet were plunged into a soothing footbath. I watched, as my friend massaged her legs with fragrant lotion.

At my table, another woman applied make up to a young girl who, frankly, could pass as a boy. My friend oohed and aahed, as she dabbed her face with feminine colors and lined her lips with pink shine.

Another teammate, in an act of mothering, used her own nails to clean under the fingernails of a young girl. (No nail files allowed!) I massaged lotion on one girl’s arms, rubbing over the scars left from her cutting herself.

Across the room, a woman applied gorgeous colors and designs to the girl’s nails while another woman, like a vendor, peddled around large trays of succulent grapes, chocolate covered strawberries, and bananas. Ambrosia!

These snapshots are vivid in my mind. I think it’s because I felt so close to Jesus when we were there. I felt Him with us, as I watched our team be Jesus to these precious girls. I felt like we were living in the Kingdom of God—that we were experiencing God’s good will coming down from heaven to earth.

Now I pause and wonder--what will our next third Thursday have in store?