Clawfoot has a story to tell

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, January 19, 2021

I have not had a bath in over six years. To be clear, I have showered, just not soaked in a real tub. I love a tub bath. I love the deliciousness of bubble baths. I love pruned fingertips. I love breathing in the smell good oils. I love lighting candles and dimming the lights on the world. I love trusting the porcelain to hold up my body while my muscles let go. I love my only focus being to wash the day off and come out a new creature.

My last bath was as a new resident in my home while living out of my guest bedroom and bath. I was banished to this tub because my new bathroom was under construction and my new shower was in an embryonic stage. This tub has no shower, has no stopper for the drain and as old tubs are, its spigot is small and a nightmare to get your head under for a shampoo.

My shower was eventually completed and shortly after my newly glazed clawfoot tub was delivered. When I received it, it had no feet, so on its belly it lay. Eventually, my men of the house put its claws on and there it sat—tempting, fresh, ripe with potential and completely useless. Since D. Mark Minick was building me a bathroom out of what was a bedroom, this tub of mine required a plumber as well as a carpenter to send the water up and down. Clawfoots also come with a complicated and expensive kit to get going, and my funds had simply run out. However, I wasn’t completely out of luck, as the spigot fixture had come with the tub. So spigot, completely for show, was put into place and it has sat for six years. She is beautiful to look at, but she is awful in achieving her purpose.

Clawfoot serves as a great catchall for days’ worth of laundry. She is a great drying rack for clothes not able to go in the dryer. But for offering a lingering soak, she is completely useless. I’ll admit, sometimes I get in it, just to pretend and see how much I’ll be able to stretch out, how high the water will come up and dream of the day when I can count her as part of a ritual. Someday she is going to restore my soul. But today is not that day.

There is hope in the air, though. Clawfoot has a date with a man who will set her on the path to be what she was intended be. She will come to life with new purpose and she will be celebrated for not only her beauty but her readiness to serve. I am excited for me, but there is a part of me excited for her as well. Clawfoot tells my story. I have reglazed myself and sold my potential many a time. However, reality is I have limits. I often hear my inner voice say, “I am supposed to be…..” or on really tough days, “You really aren’t good enough and you’re wasting potential.” Surely, I am not alone in this voice. Surely, in our state of humanity, we all have these pesky voices who become a little too loud to drown out. Perhaps these voices are the very thing making us long for a lingering soak in the bath.

Haunted by our purpose. Some of us know our purpose and as diligently as we try, we feel we have fallen short. Some of us are forever searching for our purpose only catching a glimpse of it on really good days. Some of us take on duties which don’t quite fulfill our purpose, but they are good enough for the time being. But what if our purpose is simply to serve where we can with what we have? What if our design is to be the best we know how to be for this moment in time? Perhaps offering, what we have, just as we are, is our purpose. What if being there is simply the best and only thing that is needed? We overlook the simplicity and pure gift of being present. Ask anyone who is in great pain or is celebrating a great joy, the best gift someone can offer is to simply be present. Celebrations are precious because someone is there to share them. Grief is divided because someone is there to share its weight with us. You have plenty to offer. Your potential is endless. Your purpose is great. But what if all those things are also simple? What if being there is more than enough. What if your being there simply tells another, “I see you.” How we hunger to be seen. What an awesome purpose and what an easy one to fulfill. All that is needed is a simple, “I see you.” We don’t always need you fully functional and purposeful and worthy. But we do need you, just as you are, offering what you have for the moment. Some days, our purpose is to hold the day’s laundry. It is enough.

When my man has Clawfoot up to her full purpose, I will be overjoyed. I am already overjoyed just knowing it is coming. Somehow, knowing something great is coming is as good as the time arriving. Waiting in hope is always a beautiful thing. The truth is when Clawfoot is all dressed up and ready to dance, there will be new tasks born. Eventually she will need cleaning. Eventually I will have to find a new place to let my hand washables drip dry. But no matter—she will be there for me, to hold me up, to be something I am glad over, to be a gift for just having around.

Look around, there are people who need you just to be around. You are like an armrest to lean a weary soul against. No need to question higher callings or if you’re reaching all your potential or fulfilling some great purpose. We don’t need that out of you. You. You is what we need. Many times, just being with you is like soaking the day away and coming out a new creature. Some days you will restore a soul. Today might be that day.