…but joy comes in the lotion.

For my birthday this year, my mom gave me a gift certificate for a mani pedi at a local nail salon. I hadn’t redeemed it and we are going on a special weekend trip, so I thought this was the perfect time. When I was pregnant I loved pedicures. I got them every two weeks…. sometimes every week. For some reason this time, I couldn’t remember how wonderful they were… and here’s the story of why.

Wednesday, I went to redeem my glorious gift certificate. On the door, they conveniently posted their hours and clearly stated they close at 7pm. When I walked in, the entire salon was empty except for Mama Nails (that is a little harsh, but every salon has the old lady that seems to boss all the other people around). So, I explain to her that I am here for a mani pedi and she looks at me. I keep talking, because I do that when I feel awkward, and it took me a few minutes to realize that she barely spoke English. I finally handed her the card and she says to me, “Only me. No hand and feet. Close. You come tomorrow? Yes?” Of course I just agreed and left. This was phase one of the sorrow.

I let this go, but I did tell my mom what happened and she was very sympathetic. So sympathetic that the following day she called me and offered to watch the boys while Matthew was at work so that I could go before our trip. I eagerly accepted her offer and began the process of rounding up the troops to leave the house. As I was preparing to leave, I looked in my purse for my keys and realized that my sweet husband took the vehicle containing my (stupid) gift certificate. This was the second phase of sorrow.

I am ready to throw in the towel at this point, but wonderful Mr. Biscuit agreed to watch the boys so that I could give this one last shot. I get there and they have 5 employees working. I tell them what I need and pick my color. I sit down and sink my feet. OUCH. Hot water. Very hot water. So hot, that when I lifted my foot out, it was red. I looked down and decided just to let it go. I worked this hard to make it to this point, let’s follow through without complaining. And so begins the final phase.

The next 30 minutes were so odd. I wasn’t even sure if this young man spoke English. He was very quiet as he painfully trimmed, scrubbed, and exfoliated my feet. The way he cut my cuticle was excruciating  It was not the relaxation I was looking for. I dug for a memory of why I enjoyed this horrid experience. Then, he brought out the lotion. As I became self conscious and tried to remember if I shaved my legs yesterday, he began to massage my legs and feet. Not just any massage. It was like he went to school for 9 years to massage legs and feet. I could have sat there for hours. It was phenomenal. All of my tension and fear and pain from the gruesome toe plucking was over and I was in heaven. Pure lotiony bliss.

Suddenly I remembered why I endured the pedicure every two weeks. The lotion. The lotion followed by warm rags and hot stones. Joy. It was so worth the hassle. I finally spoke with Mr. Nails. It turns out that he actually has a southern accent. He also has a love for sushi, a beautiful wife, and a baby on the way.

I wish I always remembered the lotion. So often in circumstances I find myself giving up because I can’t see the joy in the morning. Our family is going through such an emotional transition right now. I know that God is preparing (and has been preparing) our hearts for a huge change. I knew before anything unfolded, before any calls were made, and before anything exciting happened. And I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be sorrow. I knew it would be pain…. but I also knew there would be joy. After all the hurt and difficulty, there will be joy! Not just our joy, but joy God’s joy. It will be there in the morning. In the fall. Next year. Five years. The sorrow, the lonely, the uncertainty, the pain, the awkward pedicure… it never lasts forever.

Joy always comes.

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