Gone are the days of filling my washing machine by way of 150 feet or more of hose. One hundred and fifty feet of hose stretched out to the old well under the windmill. No automatic shut-off, no temp or volume control.
Gone are the days of becoming distracted while waiting for the machine to fill, only to be called back by the realization that water is silently spilling over to create a lake on my kitchen floor.
Gone are the days of setting a timer to prevent such spillage due to distraction – the days of such distraction that I completely miss the timer.
Gone are the days of moving my washing machine every few days or more to sop up my mess. No one could possibly compete with me for the cleanest laundry room floor, because no one else does this, do they?
I’m reminded of those days as I kneel behind the washer now to clean up the accumulated mess of years. I don’t actually know when the machine was last moved. I’m sure it’s been at least a couple years now since I’ve battled the bulk of it to fit behind. I sometimes look at it and feel a pang of guilty neglect while leaving the unpleasant task for yet another day.
Here I am now, on my knees sweeping up mouse droppings and chasing the whole dust bunny family, needing elbow grease to get to the bottom of the accumulated crud. All this leaves me plenty of time to reflect on the blessing of an overflowing washing machine. I like clean, but sometimes (obviously) I need an outside motivator to make it happen.
Many of those days felt so unproductive. Every attempt to clean up a mess simply created another. Though I was always busy, I often wondered if I’d accomplished anything by the end of the day. But I think a greater work was being accomplished than what I had planned into my day. A work not done by me but in me. It was here in this corner on my knees that the hard work of giving thanks in all circumstances was practiced and the heart of gratitude produced.
I am thankful for that overflowing washer yet content to never again be champion of the cleanest-laundry-closet-floor-competition. Thankful, in fact, to not even be in the running. Who, after all, would move the washer every few days just to scrub underneath it? Not me. This much I have proven since necessity quit calling. I am thankful, too, for the gift of grace that taught joy in the midst of the laundry lint and excess water.
The days of long hoses snaking through to the washer, the days of creating lakes on the kitchen floor, the days of dirt-free laundry closets may well be gone. But the lessons live on.