We awaken to rain this morning. A liquid sky falls down and I fold the laundry.
I sit on the steps and press towels into neat bundles, caress cloth that will soon caress skin, sorting as I go—the jeans on the bottom of the pile, then sweatshirts, t-shirts all together, and then underwear and socks. They are not fluffy fresh from the dryer; rather, they mingle in their cleanness all night, tumbled together through the dark hours.
I have a “delay” setting on my dryer and I don’t hesitate to use it.
I fold while my boys eat breakfast, while my husband rushes around getting ready for work, while the world is waking up.
This morning, as I fold, I remember how my mother used to fold our laundry at night. She would wait until we kids were in bed—after the supper dishes were all clean and air-drying in the drainer—and fold while my dad watched TV beside her. How many times I would get up to tell her I couldn’t sleep, I don’t know. But I have a memory of her face—intent on this task—a memory of contentedness. The folding of the laundry was the winding down of her day, the deep sigh at the end of all the work, the pause to hold and savor a bit of soft in all the hardness of the day.
And as I sit on these steps and look out the French door windows at trees lit with raindrop diamonds framed by a white sky…I think how different my life is than that of my mother’s. How her days were filled with chasing children and chasing the dirt away and the chasing out wrinkles and wiping and sweeping and bending to the rhythm of a family in motion. How her hands were filled with the substance of life.
I know these things I chase are elusive. Some would say that to chase after beauty is a fool’s game. And to fill my hands with color and words and the lift of a bird’s wing…well, how can a person touch that?
On Sunday my Pastor preached on the baptism of Jesus. She talked about John the Baptist and how people came from all over to him.
“Those who had some yearning in their hearts for something new,” she said. “They came.”
And if it wasn’t beauty that made the call—that internal recognition of the Divine—if it wasn’t beauty they were chasing, I don’t know what else it could have been.
And I think about how different two lives can be but they can still be about beauty and I am astounded to realize that my life and that of my mother’s is not so different after all.
Whatever you are chasing after, Beloved…let it take you closer to the Fairest of All. Beauty has many faces, but there is One who authors it all. Whether it is folding laundry or writing poetry or taking photos or feeding babies…it’s all divine.
It’s all Beauty.
with the amazing Jen:
and dear Michelle too: