Meera Bai says...I work at InSite, Vancouver's supervised injection site for IV drug users. It's where I choose to work as a nurse—and as a Christian. Trying to follow the command of God to seek out and care for those in need of mercy has led me to find grace and pass it on among these people in the streets of the Downtown Eastside, the very definition of a marginalized population.
Often, participants at InSite are forced to sleep outside at night. Not having a warm, safe bed takes its toll on bodies, and special care is needed for feet. An InSite staff member chats with me behind the desk as he fills up a basin of warm, soapy water. Kneeling on the floor, he gently strips damp socks off the swollen foot of a participant and lowers it into the soothing water.
Washing feet here isn't an oddity from a discomfiting Bible story, but a regular occurrence. Foot baths are healing—for body and soul. As I fill up another basin, I marvel at the timelessness of this act of community. The humility necessary for all involved in washing feet produces beautiful vulnerability and relationship, which, unsurprisingly, creates change.
So why am I here? Aren't I enabling drug users to continue their awful habits? Aren't I wasting charitable funds that could be directed to other projects (and, let's acknowledge the implication, more "worthy" recipients)?