A week ago, my parents hosted about 30 kids from our youth group in their home When they left, there was a pile of sheets, blankets and towels that needed to be washed. My sweet, servant-hearted father loaded the back of his car (with the seats down) and headed to the laundromat for the first time in over 50 years!
|My sweet Dad|
I was reminded of a trip I took to the laundromat.
I hate doing the laundry. I would rather mow the yard in 100-degree temperature then do the laundry. When I mow, I at least know my efforts will last a few days. When the sweet smell of fresh cut grass tickles my nose, I can look around at the nicely manicured lawn and know that it will be at least five days before the blades reach out to be cut again.
I am never finished with the laundry. The minute I feel a sense of accomplishment that all the laundry in the house is washed, dried, folded and put away, someone comes in the door, changes their clothes and begins to fill up the dirty clothes hamper again.
If that isn’t reason enough to loathe doing the laundry, there is the fact that it is a “start and stop” job. You gather all of the dirty laundry and sort it. Then after loading the washer, you have to stop and wait until it is time to go into the dryer. With my hectic days, sometimes I get sidetracked and forget to put it in the dryer – for a day or two. Then I have to wash it again.
If I do get it right into the dryer after the last spin cycle, I have to wait until the buzzer goes off. Again, I often get busy and the dryer stops and the clothes wrinkle. Then I have to dampen one of the many unmatched socks that seem to accumulate after each load and toss it into the dryer to de-wrinkle the clothes.
When I mow, I put on my grass stained tennis shoes, start the lawn mower, and make pass after pass across the yard until the lawn is mowed. And unless I run out of gas, I don’t have to stop and start numerous times to accomplish the task.
I like mowing.
Because I hate doing the laundry, I often put it off. There have been a few times when the pile has gotten so big it is impossible to do it all at my house. So I have loaded up the entire back of my suburban and driven to a nearby laundromat. One time my procrastination caused me to fill 13 washers at once. After a 20-minute wash cycle and a 40-minute dry cycle, I have completed my task. In a little more than an hour, I have the back of my suburban loaded with nicely folded clean clothes. At home, to accomplish that, it would have taken me over thirteen hours – if I didn’t forget there were clothes in the washer or dryer – making me repeat a wash or dry cycle.
One night about 9 pm, I called my sister as I was heading to the laundromat to “catch up.” My sister is one of those people who has a “wash day.” She was appalled at what I was doing. She saw no reason to do this. But then again, she only has two people to wash for and doesn’t have three girls that change clothes several times a day like I do. But the truth is, even if she did, she is the type of person that would never let the laundry get to that point.
I have a weakness when it comes to the laundry.
As I was listening to my sister’s utter disbelief at what I was doing, I thought of another woman I met the last time I was at the laundromat with mountains of laundry shouting out my weakness.
As I was loading my washers, a Cadillac pulled up and a smartly dressed woman stepped out and hurriedly entered the humid washateria. She went straight up to the lady at the counter. After a brief pause, the lady handed her several bundles of neatly folded clothes. She paid the lady at the counter, snatched up her bundles and headed to her car. A few minutes later another lady did the same thing. I was puzzled and curious so I asked what was going on.
“Oh, it’s Bible Study day at the big church over there.” The lady behind the counter told me.
“What does that mean?” I asked even more puzzled.
“On Bible Study day, several of the women come in her before it starts. They load their clothes in the washers and then go to church. During a break, they come over and put them in the dryers and then pay me to fold them when they are dry. By the time Bible Study is over, their laundry is done. Aren’t they smart?”
I had been thinking of my hordes of laundry as a weakness but these women were deemed “smart” because they were using their time “wisely.”
One woman’s strength is often another’s weakness.
I value keeping my house clean and picked up. Several of my friend’s have houses that are always messy. But do I sit down and play with or listen to my kids as much as they do? Is my success at keeping a tidy house a determent to quality time with my children?
I have worked hard to feed my family healthy meals. Now that I have teenagers, I am finding this “success” my weakness. The mother with high cholesterol makes cookies and fills her refrigerator with sodas. She is the mother who has the house where my teenager wants to be. No one wants to hang out where granola bars and celery are the “treats.”
I know a parent who is a bit of a free spirit and didn’t want to press any of her beliefs on her children. She believed it was a strength of hers, as a parent, to let her children walk down their own path of spirituality. Years after it was too late to affect any change, she saw the weakness of that decision as she realized she had raised children void of any spiritual life.
Strengths and weaknesses.
Are the things you perceive as a weakness really a strength? For example, are you “too sensitive?” God can use that to notice the unnoticeable.
Are you “too” bold? God needs people to be bold for Him.
Are there things in our lives the world sees as strengths but it really keeps us from relying on God or being vulnerable to those that love us. Are we self-reliant? Proud?
I want my weaknesses to be His strengths and His strengths to be my weaknesses.
But before I head out to mow the grass, I stop to throw a load of laundry in the washer. I sure hope I remember it is there before tomorrow night.