Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Laundry Pile

I sat on the couch this afternoon, the gray sunlight wafting through the room, a car occasionally whooshing down the street outside the window, and the thought came to me, “I’m not doing anything.” I had finished my quiet time of Bible Study, noting Beth Moore’s words that God will make his word clear to us in his timing. The room was dim, quiet, the tall vertical blinds open against the far wall, the light streaming in, as a bird or two chirped in the tree whose remaining green leaves I could see wiggling in the slight breeze outside. Not doing anything. Sitting down and waiting, waiting for what? Am I doing anything with my life, trying to figure out ways to get my toddler to sleep, trying to find new recipes that excluded sugar or pasta, trying to find a remedy for this cold that won’t go away.

A slight melancholy settled upon the room.

And then the timer began buzzing on my phone.

The timer for the laundry. I thought, “I AM doing something. I’m doing the laundry.”

The laundry is one of those works that doesn’t require a lot of attention the whole way through. Thankfully God has provided mankind with the mind to create a machine that will do most of the work for us, and the effort on my part is lugging the baskets down the stairs and across the street to the laundry room. Then lugging them back up after I’ve changed them over, and hanging or folding or airing out to finish drying. It’s an exhausting contribution, doing this with usually two or three loads, particularly after having worked out in the morning. But it’s another chance to care for my family, to care for our possessions which we have been given, and to breathe in some fresh air during the walk. But for the 25 minutes in the wash and the 45 minutes in the drier, I have a little time to sit and either clean or design or read or do my Bible Study or write or shower or wash the dishes or drink a cup of coffee or drink a smoothie or pay the bills. And isn’t it amazing that in the few minutes I have to sit, and the silence begins to settle, I begin to think, “I’m not doing anything.”

It’s a lie we allow ourselves to think, and it’s time to stop it. I’d prefer a handful of minutes with time to reflect upon the silence than a day full of busywork, where my house was clean but my mind was unsettled. I’ve been there, I’m very good at getting there, and it’s a struggle for most of us to stay away from there. Kind of like Walmart.

I’m one in a vast ocean of souls. I realize this more with each passing day. My contribution to this planet may never be realized, but as I heard the lyrics this morning, “I’ve just scratched the surface of my purpose.” There is more to the silence, there is more to realizing our purpose, there is more to Life than we can accomplish in one day. So get the laundry done. You are doing something. You’re just simmering, like a stew, until you’re ready. Then get ready, because this is just the training portion. Wait until the drier stops. Then the real work begins.

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