Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lesson from the Laundry

There is certainly a lot to do this time of year. Christmas can be busy.

But I have been challenged this year to not only get things done, but also to cultivate awareness of my being in the midst of the scurrying. To be purposeful not only in writing lists and getting to events and completing tasks but also in checking attitudes and creating atmosphere and being well.

The effect of this resonated with me today as I did the laundry.

You see, laundry is a big task at our house. I mean, at least, that there is a lot of it. And it is one of those things that just has to get done regularly. Day in and day out, baskets of wash are sent down to the basement, dirty and stinky and crumpled, only to rise again clean and fresh.

Only, lately, the process hadn’t been happening so smoothly. Our 14-year-old dryer was not cooperating. It wasn’t that it didn’t get hot enough. It wasn’t that it refused to tumble. In those ways, the dryer seemed to function just fine. But, somehow, Mr. Dryer had developed an appetite for clothes. A tiny bit of underwear here. A little nibble of T-shirt there. An attempted swallowing of the drawstring from a pair of pajamas. I began to fear opening the dryer door. What might be trapped, scorched, between the drum and its casing? What favored piece of clothing might now bear the scars of laundering?

We started hunting for a replacement. Despite the complication of a small-sized basement door, we were able to locate a used Kenmore dryer in great condition. With assistance from Grampsie and Nanny, their pick-up truck and handiness with the screwdrivers, the replacement dryer made its way to our home and down through the narrow basement stairs. And it works. It dries our clothes without adding any holes or brown markings to remember the process by.

As I approach the dryer, I no longer sense anxiety, only thankfulness. Suddenly, I am grateful. I am joy-filled, even. This chore has been transformed because I have come to be something new. I still have to do lots of laundry, but it feels completely different.

So, I’m contemplating how my Advent might be different if I took the time to notice how I do all the things I do. At one point today, I checked in with myself—How am I right now?—and I realized that I was being hurried. That wasn’t my intention. And when I stopped to think about it, there wasn’t a really good reason for me to be that way at all. I decided then and there that I would be at peace instead. Then I continued about my day with a whole new approach, still doing but feeling completely different through it.

May I carry this lesson from the laundry basket through Advent this year!

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

No comments: