And, once again, just like that, it’s Five-Minute Friday with Lisa Jo Baker!!
And, this Friday, the word is…
Because this week, a community of women, came together and helped build a laundry center in South Africa!
And, I have to confess, this week, I spent longer than 5 minutes on my Five-Minute Friday, and, with everything on the schedule today, there were a lot of starts and stops. Much like the load of laundry that accidentally gets left in the washer and has to be rewashed or the load that sits in the dryer and gets fluffed a few times before I finally take the clothes out. ‘Cause that’s how it is with…
Laundry… it’s always been in the background of family, a spin cycle rhythm of wash, dry, and repeat.
Just like everyone has to be fed, they all have to be clothed as well. And these clothes need to be clean, of course… at least when we go out. Otherwise, you’re just sure everyone is gonna start thinking things like, “Look at that poor child! His mother doesn’t even care that he’s wearing filthy clothes!”
So, as moms, we search for the best, most workable laundry system for our homes, some wonderful way to get the dirty clothes out of all the rooms, into the washer and dryer, nicely folded, and then put back away in all the rooms. We look at Pinterest for ideas and get distracted and start wondering if we can hang a chandelier on the ceiling of the laundry room, you know, so we’ll feel like a queen washing clothes in her castle.
Round here, we’ve tried different things. Currently, there are four baskets for laundry sorting in the hallway outside of our bedrooms. It’s mostly working, but, when company comes, we’re kinda literally airing our dirty laundry for everyone to see. We still haven’t mastered the art of turning anything right side out before we throw it in a basket though. And, socks? Well, I’ve just given up on socks. Clean socks get dumped in a laundry basket in our bedroom, and everyone gets to match a pair of socks as needed.
And, as we wash and dry and put away, even amidst the routine of the process, we’re reminded of the passage of time. As those loads of clothes and towels circle round and round, the seasons of our families go round and round too. Winter sweaters to summer swimsuits and back to winter sweaters that are sized larger than they were the previous winter. Those adorable little baby clothes that my husband and I laundered so carefully with Dreft have become bigger and bigger and bigger. My two older kids and I currently argue over whose socks are whose. The brand new towels that I was so excited about receiving at our wedding showers are frayed with age.
Just like time, the spin cycles don’t stop.
We carefully smooth down the t-shirts and put them away in dressers and closets or lay them on beds for others to put away over and over and over again. As much of a chore laundry is, there is also something almost therapeutic, almost comforting in the routine. No matter how we do it, or how often we do it, laundry tells our family’s story in a never-ending rhythm of wash, dry, and repeat. The clothes change, the wearers of the clothes change, but, in the background, our washers and dryers keep humming. And we keep washing and drying and repeating.
Because, as soon as you’re caught up with the laundry, someone throws a wrong-side out shirt in the basket. You’re never caught up. Before you know it, that shirt has multiplied into four different loads. Or, after I’m completely finished washing and drying a load of dark clothes, for example, someone will inevitably inform me, “But you forgot to wash my jeans!” That were not in a laundry basket. But were, instead, wadded up in a bedroom corner. ‘Cause I’m just supposed to know these things.
Last week, I had a cold and didn’t feel like doing really much of anything. It’s kinda amazing how quickly the dirty clothes mound up when you take a sick day.
Right now, there is a load of laundry in our dryer. However, I could do 2, maybe 3, more loads of laundry and be caught up.
It hasn’t always been this way.
There were many times that our laundry has resembled Mount Everest, or Mount Neverest, as it were. We’d paw through the dirty clothes to find what we needed, then do a load or two, and pull outfits of the day out of a laundry basket or, many times, straight out of the dryer. Actually, the first year I taught, I think all our clothes just rotated in and out of a pile in the floor in front of the laundry room. (It was right about then that a family closet-laundry room combo started looking attractive.) Sometimes, we would finish a load, then the clean clothes would get mixed back up with the dirty clothes. Since we couldn’t remember what was clean or dirty, if the sniff test didn’t work, we’d have to wash and dry all over again. Or, sometimes, we just went out and bought new underwear or socks.
Our current laundry room is right off our family room.
It hasn’t always been this way.
The first two places we lived, washer and dryer hook-ups were in the garage. So doing the laundry meant hanging out with the cars and all the other garage-y stuff like tools and spiders and the lawn mower and spiders. Our babies’ little onesies and sleepers hung from clotheslines in cute little sentry rows across the garage at our first house.
We also have a nice Whirlpool HE stackable washer and dryer set.
It hasn’t always been this way either.
Right after we got married, we didn’t have enough money to purchase a washer and dryer. Instead, when we ran out of clean clothes, we loaded up all the dirty clothes and drove them to the local Laundromat.
But we only did that for a little while.
About 2 months into our married life, my mom called me. Someone at their church knew someone who had a younger sister who was moving out of a college sorority house, and she was looking to get rid of her old washer and dryer. Did anyone know someone who needed a washer and dryer?
“We’ll take them,” I told my mom.
My mom cautioned me, “She said it was a really old washer and dryer, so I don’t know what condition they’re in, Wendy. They may not last long.”
I don’t care. We’ll take them.
So my husband went and picked up our new-to-us washer and dryer in his truck, brought them home to the little duplex we rented, and set them up in the corner of the garage.
Old was an understatement. They were both really, really old, ancient actually. And
a little a lot decrepit. I’m quite sure that there are probably replicas of these particular models in a museum somewhere. The washer had a rusted out corner, and we had to prop it up on wooden blocks. We had to use a wrench to turn the dryer on. And they both liked to take turns shaking and trying to walk across the floor.
But they cleaned and dried our clothes.
My husband agreed with my mom, “Neither one of these is going to last long. We need to start saving some money because I bet we have to replace them soon.”
Well, guess what?
That old washer and rusty dryer lasted for years!
Every time we thought we might think about purchasing a new set, we had to use the money for something else.
And our ancient washer and dryer just kept washing and drying and drying and washing and washing and drying in dedicated (yet tired) little spin cycles. Through babies and two moves and stomach viruses with marathon sheet washes and yearly fire school trainings with stinky, smoky clothes and beach vacations with sandy swimsuits and beach towels and in sickness and in health and for richer and for poorer.
As long as we needed them, they lasted.
About four years ago, we finally purchased a brand new set.
And, as excited as I was to get some flashy new appliances, there was a part of me that was a bit sad as the deliverymen rolled our trusty old washer and dryer away.
Like people do, I posted something on Facebook about being thankful for our new washer and dryer and the miracle of actually being able to turn the dryer on without having to use a wrench. The woman who, so many years ago, had asked around to see if anyone could use her sister’s old washer and dryer saw my post and asked, “You’re not talking about my sister’s set are you? Y’all are just now getting rid of that old washer and dryer?”
Yes, actually, I am.
Because God provides. And provides and provides and provides. It’s a spin cycle of faithfulness, really.
When we first got married, I hadn’t prayed for a washer and dryer. I assumed we’d keep going to the Laundromat until we could afford to purchase our own washer and dryer. And, since I knew that’d be a while, I hadn’t even thought to pray for a washer and dryer.
But God knew. And God loves us. And God supplies. He answers even unthought-of prayers.
And our old washer and dryer taught me a lesson.
We’ve been married for over eighteen years now, and, sometimes, I worry and get anxious and even start to doubt. But, every time I walk into our laundry room, I’m reminded. As never-ending as the spin cycles of laundry are, so too is God’s never-ending love. God is faithful. God provides.
He even cares about a young newly married couple and their laundry.
And the amazing, wonderful thing is… He still cares about that same couple, their three kids, and all their laundry.
It’s always been this way.