“Rx Laundry” by Robynn. Follow Robynn on Twitter @RobynnBliss
Mondays are the days I reserve for laundry.
The weekends are pretty crazy around here. Our son typically works several shifts at the grocery store. He’s in and out. When he’s in he’s eating! – which means I’m cooking. Our older daughter also works. That means driving her to the restaurant and picking her up when she’s done. Both girls often get together with friends. I’m dropping them off somewhere or fetching them from somewhere. There are homework assignments to check in on, school projects that need supplies, papers that need to be printed off. One of the committees I’m involved in at church usually meets on Saturdays. Lowell is part of an interesting book club that meets on the weekends. I get to teach Sunday school to a room full of elementary age kiddos. That means reserving some prep time on Saturday afternoons. Sundays are given to church and youth group and friends popping by.
But Mondays are reserved for laundry.
I’ve always secretly liked doing laundry. Even in India where my first wash machine was a twin-tub-decidedly-not-automatic Godrej machine. I’d wash a small load and then move it to the spinner, then transfer it to a clean tub of water to rinse it, then move it back to the spinner. On exceptional days I’d rinse it again and then spin it again. Usually I shrugged off the second rinse and took the clothes from the spinner to hang on the laundry racks placed outside on my verandah, or inside under the ceiling fan during monsoon season. Laundry was a multi-stepped chore. As children joined our family, or guests contributed to our piles, laundry became a daily activity. The water supply was tentative at best. Electricity was fickle and unreliable. Washing one or two loads a day was the only way to keep up with the Himalayan piles that sweat and dirt and dust and monsoon mud amplified.
But now I reserve Mondays for laundry.
I like the rhythm of it. The sorting–darks, lights, whites, towels, darks, lights, whites, towels—soothes the soul-sorting that also comes on a Monday morn. Quiet and deliberate. Handling each piece of clothing is an unusual way of reliving the week before. The week is dumped out on the floor and then picked through, put in piles, unpacked, processed. The shirt Adelaide wore to audition for the high school musical lies next to the outfit she wore when she heard she didn’t get the part she wanted. Connor’s work uniforms, too many of them, how will he manage his studies and working so many shifts in a week? Bronwynn’s muddy clothes from the youth group mud volley ball event. Is she finding a place in community? Is she making friends? I find myself shaking out clothes, perhaps, secretly hoping to shake out the anxieties we face and the fears we fight off.
I like how measurable laundry is. I can see it disappearing before my eyes. One load’s in the machine, the other is in the dryer. The basket is full of a warm stir-fry of clean clothes. Everyone’s story is mixed together in the basket of warm shirts, jeans, towels, bed sheets. Here the family all get along. Pulling out each article of clothing, flicking the wrinkles out, folding them smooth, placing them in orderly stacks. I can see progress. The tactile evidence of success and forward movement pleases me.
I like how comforting and predictable the rhythms of laundry are. Mondays are my favourite days. Slowly, gradually the stuff of life is sorted. Slowly, gradually the piles are processed. Slowly, gradually, order is restored. Slowly, gradually I’m too am re-ordered, re-done.
Not everyone has the luxury of a Monday Laundry day. But I highly recommend it! Take the day off just once. Do the laundry! See your soul before you on the floor. Watch as the cleansing happens. Breathe in the smells of clean and promise. Slow your spirit to keep pace with the patterns of the water moving rhythmically in the machine.
Pray through your piles. Dump out your pains and your disappointments. Sort through them. Fold the future into manageable stacks. Sprinkle those stacks with expectation and hope. Lay it all down, gently, into baskets. Take those baskets to the altar. Leave them there –offerings, surrendered to the God of all things new.This is why I reserve Mondays for laundry.
How do you sort through your piles and pains? Do you link it to something as concrete as laundry? We would love to hear from you through the comments.
8 thoughts on “Rx Laundry”
Although wash n’ wear has nearly made ironing outdated and not so much a part of today’s laundry scene, I still find ironing something I really enjoy! I can think, I can dream, I can plan, I can pray while pushing the iron around. And what is more satisfying than setting a table with a lovely freshly ironed table cloth?
Monday is laundry day at our house too, Robynn. When my girls were little, they would help sort the lights from the darks with a small saying, “Lights on the floor, darks on the dog.” Because invariably there was a Boxer under foot, also wanting to help. The girls got a giggle from piling him high with the dark clothes before we put the first load in the washer. I can’t help but say it to myself still, as I wash clothes now for just two people.
Laundry is one of my favorite chores too, because the evidence of work done is obvious in those sweet smelling piles, and the satisfaction lasts for several days. I am glad to know I have a kindred spirit on Mondays. Now I’ll think of you too as the machine whooshes its cleansing rhythm.
My wife was recently in Colombia for about 5 weeks. I finally got around to doing laundry the day before she returned. It’s important for men who are baching it to have plenty of socks and underwear.
Awww, I love progress which I can measure, too. Beautiful metaphors Robynn. Love your closing paragraph. So sweet.
Dear dear Robynn, First of all I love the picture because it reminds me of my childhood and helping my mom as she scrubbed each item on the scrub board. And that was the way we did laundry when we first arrived in Pakistan – didn’t have an electric washer for our first 15 years there, and never an automatic.
But I love how you do your laundry, all that processing and praying and the satisfaction of all the sorted clean piles at the end. Most of the time (not all) in Pakistan I had house help so I didn’t have to do the washing. But whatever kitchen help I had, I reserved the bread making to do myself. I got a lot of stress out in the 10 minutes of kneading – all that punching and pulling and turning. And I did a lot of praying over my bread mixing and kneading. If a few salty tears fell into the dough, it really didn’t matter, maybe it helped the texture. But I think the biggest satisfaction I got from the whole process was starting something and seeing and smelling the finished product within a few hours. In those years of work and parenting and hospitality and always learning, I never saw the fruit of anything I did in a few hours, sometimes not for years, if ever. Now, it’s feeling like fall and it’s time for me to start making bread again. Thank you for your profound thoughts – you remind me of Brother Lawrence!
I remind you of Brother Lawrence??!?!?! That’s really is the nicest thing anyone has ever said ….ever! Thank you.
Fall came to Kansas yesterday too. I should pull out the flour and yeast. There’s therapy and prayer and some serious working out of our salvation in good old fashioned bread making!
Thank you again Auntie Polly.
Beautiful! I love laundry day too, and I have had a few thoughts along the lines of what you posted here, but you have expressed it far more eloquently than I would have done. I especially like the image of everyone getting along in the laundry basket.
I loved that part as well Christie! Will be thinking on that – how before they’re washed they don’t get along – all that dirt and smell. And then after they are washed there they are – in all their sweet-smelling goodness!