Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lessons from the Laundry Room

I have a quirky clothes dryer. For one thing, it’s been in nearly every room of our house. Secondly, the door tends to swing closed when I’m trying to fill it, bonking me on the head. And finally, it nearly always leaves one lone item wet after everything else has dried. 

When we moved into our home, a stacking washer/dryer came with it—housed in a closet on the main floor. Since our bedroom’s in the basement, we wanted to move the appliances downstairs and turn the space back into a coat closet. Like every renovation project, it was easier said than done.

Lucky for me, I don’t represent the muscle segment of my family, so I supervised. The muscles agreed that, once out of its closet and onto a hand truck, the washer and dryer would be better kept together rather than try to separate them and all their wiring. They also agreed it would be easiest to roll the combination out through the front door, down the outside steps, and around to the side door and back inside where the stairs go directly down to the basement. On the way, these appliances took an excursion through our living room.

Home at last.
Once the whole thing had been bounced down to the hallway at the bottom of the basement stairs, the muscles realized that the corner was too tight to make into the laundry room, and the hallway had a dropped ceiling. It was just high enough for the washer/dryer to stand upright without the dolly. They rolled it all the way down the hall to the storage room at the end, where it could be stood upright and the dolly removed. Then it was shimmied all the way back up the hallway toward the laundry room. After a pretty complete tour of the whole house, the washer/dryer was finally installed in the right place and put to work. 

Then I discovered that, with nearly every load of clothes, one item always comes out still wet. Sometimes a sock, sometimes underwear or a T-shirt. You know those fins on the inside of the drum that push the clothes to the top so they can drop to the bottom? Turns out our dryer has just enough space between these fins and the edge of the drum for a small garment to become wedged. Because that garment simply gets dragged around and around instead of being tumbled, it doesn’t dry.

Could my dryer be trying to teach me something? 

Sometimes our life journeys seem to take us on unexpected detours and longer routes than we want. But often, those detours are necessary for us to arrive at the place where we fulfill our purpose.

As for the swinging door, sometimes doors that want to shut on us really ought to stay shut. Other times, we need to hold them open. In order to know which is which, we must be clear about our goal.

Furthermore, and please correct me if I’m wrong here, but wet underwear cannot be used for its intended purpose. Being tumbled around is necessary for it to be useful. Do you find yourself being dragged and dropped repeatedly by life when you’d rather sit comfortably in place, enjoying the ride? Could it be you need a little tumbling, a little disturbance, to get you to the place where you can fulfill your life’s purpose? Where you can be truly useful to God and to other people?

Something to think about next time you’re doing laundry.

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