Sunday, July 24, 2011

God in Laundry, Illness and Unwashed Dishes

 (A Little Dirty Laundry: painting by Tilly Strauss)

After returning home yesterday evening from an event at our local pool, I spent much of the night awake with a sick stomach. My husband slept on the downstairs sofa while I traversed from our bedroom to the bathroom. He awoke me this morning to let me know that a travel baseball game has been rescheduled for this morning. He was leaving now with L. And, he told me, the washing machine died.

He graciously offered to go to the laundromat this afternoon, between the game and a 5:30 Mass, but could I please sort out which dirty laundry is the priority?

I finally settled back into sleep. About an hour later, our teen barged into the bedroom without knocking to let me know he was heading to work. He told me how the washing machine has died and that when he returns he will help me sort laundry.

I fell back to sleep again. I just woke up and was startled by the sight of our first floor as I headed downstairs. This is not my life as I imagine it.

I had an idea about how Sunday would go and what it would look like.

Instead of my image of a relaxing Sunday, I saw pages of the Sunday New York Times and our local Sunday newspaper strewn across the family room floor, as well as sofa cushions and piles of clean laundry. The kitchen sink is full of dishes, some of them still encrusted with food. I have missed Sunday morning Mass. My stomach felt a little less queasy so I headed to the refrigerator for a glass of orange juice only to discover that someone had left the door ajar and there are fruit flies hovering over the fruit.

I don't know why at this point in my life I still expect life to go the way I plan. Why do I experience reality as a disruption, an interruption in my script?

Example: The plan was we four were going to go to a morning Mass together, then enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon. In other words, I had figured out my place in the sun for the day.

Father Carrón reminds us:  "No place in the sun is sufficient for an “I” conscious of its need, because a person like this knows where to find rest, a rest that meets the measure of her need, and is the only one that truly rests and refreshes: “For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.” The more human beings are conscious that only He can constitute their true rest, the more they are. They cannot help being flooded with emotion at the fact that God exists."

But I realize now that despite my plans and preconceptions, God has been with me all along. He is present as I face this laundry, this illness and these unwashed dishes.


  1. Sorry about the mess that has been made of your day, and that you are not well. Yes He is present. Offer everything. It is a like a miracle that we can say, "Jesus, I belong to You and embrace You in these circumstances." It is like a miracle, because the circumstances remain what they are (with all their human crumminess), and yet their limitations are no longer what defines us. Jesus on the Cross made every moment a possibility for love. When things go "wrong," it is a grace to remember this, and to realize that it goes beyond sentimentality, and even our ideas about love. I'm not saying that I am very "good" at remembering this when things go wrong; the beginning of the miracle is in the fact that I REMEMBER IT AT ALL. If it weren't for Christ, there wouldn't even be the possibility of facing our circumstances in this way!

  2. Thanks for this blog entry! It speaks to my life, as well. - Jean

  3. John: I love that line "the circumstances remain what they are (with all their human crumminess), and yet their limitations are no longer what defines us." THANK YOU

    Jean: This means so much, coming from you. Blessings.

  4. I am with you! We have all had days like this, but being able to praise God in all things is both difficult and miraculous!

    The challenge isn't to live under the circumstances, but be victorious over them, and if we can't, then to offer it up. Big challenge for me!