Becoming Holy

Dirty Laundry

on May 17, 2015

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I love doing laundry. Really. I love my washer and dryer. They work alongside me. They even continue to work after I go to bed. One of the burdens of our journey to Seattle Children’s was not being able to do laundry at any time. You may be raising your eyebrows in disbelief. But, think about it~even if you dislike doing laundry, there is something about having clean clothes that makes the world a better place.

The artwork above is titled “Polish Madonna” and is a beautiful image of Our Blessed Mother hanging laundry as Baby Jesus plays at her feet. I fell in love with it back in the 90’s and found a nicely framed image about seven years ago. It has hung in my laundry room ever since. It centers me and reminds me of the importance of the daily tasks of homemaking. Even Baby Jesus needed His clothes washed! I like to pray for each of my kids as I fold a specific item of their clothing. With four girls in a row, there are some items that every daughter has worn~I picture each of them wearing it and I smile. I still marvel as I fold little boy jeans and socks and Ninja Turtle shirts after years of pink! Many items have a story and mark the passing of the years. 

Several years back, I realized I was doing a disservice to the kids with my laundry obsession and not teaching them to help. We now have a system in which each child has a day of the week to do his or her laundry. They have that day to wash clothes, sheets, blankets, etc. and get them folded and put away. It helps with not mixing up clothes or drying something that the owner prefers to be line-dried. Towels go into a “family hamper” but everything else is taken care of by the individual. Upon returning from Seattle, we tossed all our dirty laundry into a big pile and we got to do our laundry all together! 

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In Seattle, at the Ronald McDonald House, we shared our “home” with 84 families!  Our room was like a hotel room with two double beds and single cots, a bathroom and sink, and a small table with two chairs, a television and a medicine refrigerator. We were on the third floor.

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The second floor was the lobby, mail room, and a few sitting areas. The first floor was the Dining Room and kitchen areas. There were two kitchens, each with four sink areas or work stations. Each family had a double door cupboard and a mini fridge for food. The seating area had a dorm cafeteria like feel. The basement is where the laundry room was. A streamlined system was in place.  Twelve stackable washer/dryer units were in one room. Each family could have two loads of laundry in progress at a time. Magnets with our room number were placed on our washer/dryer when we used them. If one needed a washer and the cycle was done but the laundry hadn’t been moved, we were asked to put on gloves, get a big plastic bag, place the clothes in the bag and the family’s magnet on top. I really didn’t love the idea of other people moving our clothes around, so I tried to be very vigilant about our laundry, making certain to check the washer often to be ready to transfer. In the beginning, it was impossible to spend any length of time at the McDonald house as so much was going on at the hospital with Gabbie. The laundry piled up. It was hard for one of us to leave to do laundry, though it was a welcome break for Max, who could play air hockey and video games while we waited. 

This is yet another item on my grateful list. In Seattle, I found myself dreading laundry. I had many conversations with myself. The two of us (me and myself) would talk about women in third world countries who would DELIGHT at the ease of doing laundry at the McDonald House. I imagined many scenarios as I trudged down the stairs with our laundry basket~washing clothes in a muddy stream, carrying water in a jar on my head, having so few clothes that there was not much to wash. I was made aware in powerful ways just how easy I have it. I was disappointed in myself for my lack of gratitude. I was truly thankful to have somewhere to do laundry but I also truly wasn’t. I really wanted life back the way it had been. I promised myself I would never take anything for granted again! 

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Thank you, God, for the gift of being home. Thank you for the gift of laundry~your reminder to us that what is dirty can be made clean. Thank you for laundry soap and for Downy. Thank you for dryer sheets and clothes drying racks. Thank you for stain spray and soaking sinks. Thank you for my laundry room and the precious picture of Baby Jesus and His Momma on laundry day! Thank you for reminding me to be thankful. Please bless everyone at the McDonald House as they do their laundry. Hold them in your hands. Remind them of your presence. Help them to be renewed with each basket of clean clothes. Help our prayers to touch them and bless them and give them hope. 

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