Like a many-decades-married elderly couple, my washer and dryer died within an hour of each other a few years back. It took a couple of weeks to get and install a new pair and the day after that--I am not making this up--the water valve behind the washer crumbled, sending a geyser through my master bathroom, forcing the de-install of everything that had just been installed, and leaving me back at the mercy of the laundromat. I cursed--a lot, loudly, and with great abandon--for several days.
A few things:
- I find calm in doing laundry. Much like stirring things on the stove, measuring ingredients, or sewing something simple, the washing, drying, and folding are a ritual that quiet my head. It's good thinking time, good breathing time, and a little silence on days there isn't much. I also have a great affinity for good-smelling, clean things. So I wash and dry a lot.
- I loathe crowds. I've always grocery shopped and done anything else possible at the crack of dawn for just that reason. So sitting in a laundromat for several hours, jockeying for table space, jostling for carts, and being in a room of activity is pretty well torture. It's the polar opposite of my regular, calming, wash-dry-fold-repeat routine.
Eventually, I had the perfect trifecta: a washing machine, a dryer, and a functional water line, plus repainted drywall in my kitchen beneath. Life was good. And I have not taken the act of doing a load of laundry in my own home for granted a single time since--truth. "Look at me--folding right here--man, this is awesome."
I'm thinking about that today, two days before Christmas, in a year that's been anything but routine or calming or normal for most of us. Four Christmas gifts are currently somewhere in the unbelievable maze that is the United States Postal Service and one hasn't shipped yet for reasons I can't explain; I finish my shopping right around Thanksgiving and don't really do pre-Christmas chaos in that department. (One of those packages contains my holiday cards, which have been in a North Carolina sorting facility since Dec. 7--if you get one from me in March, the sentiment lives on.) And yes, I am obsessively tracking all of them on several platforms and worrying a little bit about plan B because Type A is Type A and fighting that bit of my personality causes more stress than anything it might fix.
I am very much aware these are high, first-world problems. But--and here is my point, thank the Lord above already--I think and I hope that when things are less chaotic and less stressful and the walls aren't closing in quite so much next year, I will appreciate every bit of the Christmas season more than ever before, and the things that used to cause me palpitations won't seem so bad. Kind of like doing laundry in my own house, whenever I want, all by myself. Life is good and it's all about my perspective. My blessings shine brighter because of this experience, and maybe that's the whole cosmic point.
Wishing you the available joys of the season, wherever and whatever that looks like in your home. Merry Christmas, friends. And a very happy 2021 to all of us.