Allow me to explain: I spent the last-but-one weekend in Hot Springs, AR. Two friends and I went there for the express purpose of “taking the waters” (isn’t that deliciously old-fashioned?) The result was my cat/potato dilemma.
If you’ve never experienced the delights of a Hot Springs bathing session, here’s how it works. First you’re ushered into a curtained cubicle to undress. (Yes, all the way—what do you normally wear in the bathtub?) Next an attendant discreetly drapes you in a large white sheet and places you in the care of a bath attendant, who will be your tour guide for the rest of the experience. (On this trip, my bath attendant was Julie, who was fabulous. She made that whole “Mercy, I’m nekkid in front of a stranger” thing feel completely normal.)
Now it’s soaking time. This involves climbing into a large, deep tub of very hot (103-ish degrees) water and staying there for 20 minutes or so. It’s marvelous – there’s a backboard against which to recline and a thing that looks like a small outboard motor in the tub that provides serious jet action. All too soon the attendant returns to scrub your appendages and back with a loofah you’ll take home later.
Next stop: the sitz bath. This is like sitting on the floor of a shower stall in 8-12 inches of hot water. It’s supposed to help lower back pain, hemorrhoids, and the like. Personally, I was just proud I managed to get up out of the thing when the time came.
Then it’s time for the steam cabinet, which always makes me think of I Love Lucy. Your head sticks out of a hole and the rest of you is submerged in steam. Sweat city. I’m never quite sure where to put my hands, but I love it nonetheless.
After that the attendant leads you to a quiet spot to be wrapped in hot, wet towels. This is when that whole potato/cat conundrum hit me. On the one hand, I’d been simmered, blanched, and steamed—very potato-like. I was, to mix my culinary metaphors, limp as overcooked spaghetti; there was nothing al dente about me.
On the other hand, I was completely in tune with my cat, Henry. Henry’s favorite thing to do (other than annoy his elder brother Charlie) is to lie on my lap, flat on his back, arms and legs akimbo, so I can rub his tummy. This produces a large smile on his furry face and a leisurely rhythmic flexing of his toes. At these times, he is the very picture of feline bliss.
Lying on that table swaddled in hot towels, I knew exactly how Henry felt. I pictured God smiling lovingly down at me the way I do at Henry. I didn’t flex my toes but I dang near purred. I’m not sure but what God rubbed my tummy with His finger.
I went through this process three glorious days in a row and every time it was a sweet snuggle session with the Lord. Worship is not always singing or reading your Bible or going to church. Sometimes it’s cuddling up next to your Heavenly Father so He can love on you a while.