My washing machine is not working. A repairman is scheduled to come in a few days. For the third time. Meanwhile, laundry is piling up. Of course, the piles are not as high as they once would have been, in the years when my nest was full. As I stand here now, looking at the clothes spilling out of the hamper, I’m reminded of something I wrote some years back when the laundry baskets at our house, and life, in general, seemed to be in a constant state of overflow. The lesson I learned is one I need to be reminded of…
Lessons from the Laundry Room
I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, laundry had brought me to my knees before. More than once, God’s heard me cry, “Help, Lord, I’m buried under an avalanche of dirty clothes!” I should not have been surprised then, to see my ironing board kneeling as if in prayer. The sheer weight of its load had forced it into a position of total surrender. I should have seen it coming. How long had I been ironing on one end of the board while clothes piled up on the other. How had I let myself get so far behind? It wasn’t even that these clothes required ironing. Not to start with. They simply needed to be sorted and put away. Surely, I could have found time enough for that. But, unfortunately, I hadn’t. As a result, I now found myself ironing at a slant.
I removed the pile of laundry and straightened the bent leg, lifting the ironing board back into a horizontal position. It was no use. Within a minute or two, it had resumed its former posture. It appeared to be crying out for mercy- broken beyond repair. I finished my ironing in a crouched position, then mercifully put the board out of its misery in our garage where it would remain until trash day when it would be carried to its final resting place.
What is it about laundry that just seems so exhausting? Maybe it’s the sheer never-ending-ness of it that makes this particular chore so tiring. I can spend all day washing, finally getting to the bottom of the hampers, only to find them filling up again by evening.
It hasn’t always been this way. My dad tells me that at bedtime, when he was a kid, he simply took off his baseball cap and laid it down, unhitched his overalls and let them fall to the floor, and climbed into bed. The next morning, he reversed the procedure and was good to go.
I love that picture of simple living. While I’m not sure I could convince my family to adopt this practice, I believe I would do well to apply its lesson to other areas of my life. Instead of gathering problems like dirty laundry, for example, and allowing them to pile up into an overwhelming heap, I could simply drop my day into God’s lap each evening, knowing that, in the morning, He’ll still be there, ready to walk with me through another day.
I think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Each day has enough troubles of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) Of course, living that way is easier said than done. I continue to collect clutter in spite of my good intentions. Thankfully, God is always there to take it when I offer it to Him. Unlike my attempt to fix my ironing board, He can always straighten me out when I’ve let things pull me down. When I surrender to Him, He will carry my burdens for me and hold me up as well. Now, if I could just convince my family that all they really need in their wardrobe is a pair of overalls…