31 August 2013

theology of laundry

One of those ordinary weekends playing keepy uppy and tackling the laundry. This morning whilst folding, I remembered a laundry related story from years ago.

When our children were small, as parents Sunday mornings consisted of a manic couple of hours supervising the washing and dressing of two pre-schoolers and one just-in-schooler. At the same time we tried to keep an atmosphere that might maintain the previous hours of holy preparation prior to preaching (him.) Anything else was a bonus (ie that I might actually have my top on the right way round and for extra points a dash of make up approximately applied.) The reality was that our children probably picked up a number of words they shouldn’t have, from me.

One such morning in the middle of it all daughter (who was still too young to speak properly) started yelping once her leggings were on her legs. It soon became clear that this did not fall into the category of a tantrum and that she was actually making a genuine commotion about something on her leg. The leggings came back off and she calmed down eventually. After a time the leggings went back on again and the yelling started even louder and so the leggings came off once more. Only this time it became clear what the problem was.

A wasp dropped onto the floor.

The black and yellow striped blighter had probably crawled into the leggings whilst they were on the washing line the day before and dozed off. It didn’t take too kindly to being woken up and consequently had stung daughter a few times before any of us worked out what was happening. Needless to say by this point she and I were both equally distraught and both stayed home that morning and shared lots of cuddles.

The story has been re-counted a few times since, under the bad mother header. At the time I felt awful that I had not been able to work out sooner what was happening. (And perhaps almost as bad that I had not ironed the leggings and squashed the problem beforehand). Anyway short of installing and monitoring washing line CCTV, BBC TV wildlife-style, I couldn’t have prevented it.

I was reminded just this week too of some painful experiences of recent years when I saw someone at the station. A person whose inability to deal with their own pain meant that pain was meted out to others, including us. And the associated feelings from that time quickly came rushing back, making me realise it’s not all dealt with yet.

We don’t want those we love to be hurt and to be in pain. We don’t want to be wounded by others. And pain inflicted by others sometimes reveals things about ourselves that we really don’t want to see.

All the foresight and micromanaging cannot prevent pain occurring. Sometimes it just happens.

Most of the time we are a work in progress along the way, releasing it to our Father as we go. And that’s OK.

But the peace that follows after we’ve moved through it is usually the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment