Today I am stepping over mounds of laundry.
Hauling, sorting, loading, unloading, loading, unloading, folding, stacking, hauling. All the sheets need to be changed and towels washed, too, in anticipation of a house full of kids and grandkids arriving in a few days. 17 of us will squeeze into our four bedroom house to celebrate a milestone birthday—and that is only half of our family. This task and so many others can feel endless to us women. Scrubbing dishes, pots, and pans. Sweeping floors. Vacuuming carpets. Sanitizing bathrooms. Weeding the garden. Washing the vehicles. Whisking away Cheerios and French fries from car floorboards… and on and on and on march the steady, repetitive tasks of home and family maintenance. Modern conveniences may save time, but our modern prosperity has given us more of everything—and more to upkeep.
When I visit my daughters and see their laundry spaces I’m always amazed at the leaning towers of folded clothes on counters, tables, or the living room floor. And the machines are still churning with the promise of more stacks to come. But then I remember what my own laundry room used to be like walking through shifting piles of sand perpetually covering the floor.
Happy was not a word often associated with my approach to daily duties but the word art in this prayer elevates the mundane to a higher plane of value. More than just checking a to-do list, temporal tasks can create beauty, form, rhythm, and comfort in my home. Doing the laundry sends a message of love to my family that their comfort matters to me. I want them to feel welcomed when they crawl into fresh sheets after driving six hours with a giggling or arguing car full of kids. The meals for which I will plan, shop, prepare, and clean up can be artful, nourishing gifts to those I love.
Replacing “I have to” with “I get to” can be found with this prayer to the Father of Jesus. If His eye is on the sparrow, then I know He watches me. This is being intenton the eternal. This is unfolding peace in the art of the never ending cycles of temporal tasks on earth.
May it be so for you and for me.