I am never on top of my chores, ever. In the last year, I have hired a cleaning service because I am just too slack. What would my ‘bootstrapping’ grandparents think if they knew that I, a 27 year old single women, had hired a cleaning service? Sheesh.
I was not always a slacker. It’s just been hard to stay on top of things recently. It’s even harder to keep up when weekends like this happen…
Last night my dad was terribly sick. His chemo just kicks his butt sometimes, and low and behold, the washing machine decided to gurgle its lasts bubbles. Are you kidding me? So, this morning, I sat out to find a repair man. Each repair man had the same phone-based diagnostic– the washing machine is old. Given the thoroughness of the washer’s exam, I’m sure this diagnostic was based largely on the fact that today is Saturday. Of course, they could fix it for a price, but the parts would take awhile to get here. My dad is sick now.
Plan B became searching for a new washing machine. I grabbed my car keys and told my mom that I would be back soon. As I locked up the house, I saw a mini van slam on the breaks, back up about a foot and pull in our driveway. Out of the mommy mobile popped Beth, a dear friend and long time neighbor of my parents. She decided to say a prayer for my family as she drove by our house on her way home. She said that if someone would walk out of the house, she would stop and offer to do our laundry. Out I walked. The only person to leave the house all morning. What Beth didn’t know was that our washer was on the blink, and we were in a heap of trouble.
What makes this story even more beautiful is how the circle really is unbroken. About a year ago, Beth’s husband was in the ICU a few miles from my own home (not my parent’s home.) She was exhausted, and I offered for her to come stay with me a few nights. In some weird way this was really thrilling for me. Here was a dear friend, and I was finally far enough along in life to offer her a bed, a shower, a hug and some hospitality, instead of some crusty air mattress on the floor. Believe me, when you’re in your mid twenties, in your first home, with your first mortgage, and someone dear to you needs some comfort that you are now able to provide… Well, that’s a warming feeling. That evening she said she was going to have to drive back to her home the next day, 3-4 hours away, because she had run out of clean clothes. I insisted that I wash her clothes for her, and she was able to stay until her husband was discharged from the hospital.
So here Beth stood today in our laundry room telling me how hard it was to have let me wash her clothes for her that night. She said that it felt like it was imposing on me; yet I was genuinely happy to be able to wash them. She stopped today because she thought it might take a little work off my mom if she could just run a few loads of laundry for her now to return the favor, and this too made her genuinely happy. This small act of kindness was given at moments in each of our lives when we were hanging on by a thread. And it is moments like this in which I believe that maybe the world and God has not completely turn their backs on us. Now, that is a powerful load of laundry.