One of the most satisfying, and yet profoundly unsatisfying phrases in the universal language of keeping house is, “The laundry is done.” The sense of elated accomplishment which floods you as the last towel of the last load is taken from the dryer, folded neatly and placed neatly on the towering pile of neatly folded, marvelously fresh smelling towels and you shut the dryer door in victory lasts all of about a minute and a half as you begin the climb up three flights of stairs to put them in the linen closet, balancing the sweet smelling pile under your chin, drinking in the aromatic freshness (I’m a Gain girl, myself) and the overall sense of having accomplished, when you make the mistake of looking down as you pass through the living room on your way to the last set of stairs before final completion and delivery of towels to linen closet. And there you spot them. The pair of dirty socks that one of the little arrows from your quiver has thoughtfully left right there in the middle of the floor, right where he took them off and promptly forgot they had ever existed in the assumption that they will magically put themselves in the hamper, and later the washing machine, somehow appearing sometime later in his room, no longer dirty. I say thoughtfully left them, because, of course, you needed to be brought down from your elation and be reminded that laundry is never, actually, done. That sense of accomplishment was based on a faulty, shifting sand. The rock bottom truth is that there is never an end to laundry, but merely an abating of the flood of dirty clothes for a fleeting moment.
And you sigh and think about the series on Ecclesiastes that you’ve been listening to Alistair Begg preach, which he titled, “Chasing the Wind,” and you think, yes, laundry, too, is vanity, vanity and chasing the wind. And you nod sagely with Solomon the Preacher, pondering how there is really nothing new under the sun as you call your son and remind him – again – that dirty socks belong in the hamper, not the living room floor, and you remind yourself – again – that love is long-suffering, and you must be patient, because, after all, Jesus has been so very patiently long-suffering with you, my dear, when you go into your son's room to gather up the dirty clothes from the floor there, where they still sit, even though you had asked him three times (at least!) already if he had dirty clothes that needed to go to the laundry room this morning.
Then you find yourself thinking that, really, you shouldn’t complain about laundry because, after all, how thankful you are for the clothes you have on your back, and on your husband’s back, and on your children’s backs, and how thankful you are for those bodies that wear the clothes and how thankful you are for God’s provision for the food and clothes and shelter you enjoy today. And you find yourself pondering with thankful heart that you are not lugging said laundry down to the river for an all-day session of back-breakingly scrubbing your only other set of clothes on rocks and then hanging them out to dry, but you are blessed with an automatic washer and dryer right there in the basement and can wash the clothes several times a week rather than much more seldom as those in earlier times were forced to do. And you go back to Ecclesiastes and read:
“I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
And you skip to the end and read:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.”
And you ponder the significance of doing laundry as unto the Lord. And then you come to the end of your blog post and get up and go down to the basement to sort and start the next load of laundry and thank God for the blessings whose clothes you get to wash today.