"We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry."
-E. B. White
I'm thankful for dirty laundry.
I'm making myself say this because I don't really feel that way at the moment.
Today was laundry day. Not because it was my scheduled day or anything. I don't work that way when it comes to laundry. No, it was more like laundry today or naked tomorrow. Something like that.
And I haven't enjoyed the task, for some reason. I used to like this chore. That was back in the day when I had a six month old who took lots of naps and I also had a lot more free time during the day. Even though I was washing my own cloth diapers and I had a baby that drooled his way through five or six onesies a day, it was still a task that I found charmingly domestic and I went about the task with a slight lift in my step and a smile on my face.
Not so much these days.
I am somehow able to find joy in the other household tasks (just read yesterday's post) but that darn laundry, well ...
I think because it just screams of things already done and left behind, messes made, fun that was had but has now moved on...
And it just sits there in those baskets, staring back at me with a laconic look that questions, "Well...?"
But you can't ignore laundry any more than you can ignore the dog and I can't stand it's attitude and so I start sorting. I've gotten less precise in my sorting lately. It's less "whites and darks" and more like, "not red and towels." I'm washing in cold anyway so it should be okay, right?
And then, as with many common tasks, once begun, a calmness begins to descend.
And I love the smell of my laundry detergent and the bubbles that start rising and I start throwing in the shirts and the socks and I find a rhythm. Once a load is going, I turn to whatever else is at hand because that is definitely ONE thing that's nice about doing laundry..once begun, you can do something else at the same time and you start to feel like you are actually getting things done and that, in itself is very, very nice.
As the soap infuses and the clothes swirl and I move through more of my day I begin to realize how much my soul is like dirty laundry.
I traipse through this life and collect moments and memories and worries and wickedness, all because I am human and I don't always think before I speak or act or move. And so I become this tangled altered mess of wonderful and not so wonderful encounters and what I really need is have someone move in and sort all of it into its rightful place.
And then wash it all clean.
I know that not everything is a mess but all of it has been rubbing up against each other in my heart and mind and, after awhile, it sometimes can't help taking on a similar smell. I need to let the water run over and through all the nooks and crannies of my dark places. And even the light places. Because all of it is soiled from living in a world that doesn't always know it should wash its hands.
So THAT is why I am thankful for dirty laundry. Not because it makes me feel more domestic or organized or special.
I'm thankful because I don't want to be naked tomorrow and only have a pile of dirty laundry to show for it.