Even seeing the phrase “laundry list” sends my head spinning with a list of things I need to do. I look at my dusty shelves, unfolded clothes, stacks of books and unprepared food, and that all too familiar tightness fills my chest. These mundane tasks can so easily suck out life’s pleasures.
That sucking sensation is only magnified when my laundry list is ripped in half by an interruption. I’m not necessarily talking about life’s catastrophes, just those day-to-day annoyances: something breaking, losing something, a task taking longer than it should…
The specific interruption that comes to mind is people. Sure, there’s the repairman that keeps you waiting all day or the customer service person that is really not into service, but there’s also the people we love. God’s done a mighty work in my life by helping interruptions to not cripple or infuriate me (usually); but as a task-oriented introvert, I have to constantly remind myself that people are not a task. People are not part of the laundry list, they’re the reason I do laundry.
Living with over sixty women, God often puts this conviction to the test. (…especially since we’re supposed to love our neighbors AND my neighbors are my sisters in Christ.)
Of course, this happens as I’m frantically finishing an assignment, and someone knocks on my door or needs help with an assignment. However, it also happens in other areas of the dorm. Since I’ve made my own little kitchenette, this rarely happens to me in our kitchen. It does happen often in the bathroom and the laundry room though.
Not surprisingly, the story that inspired this post was in the laundry room.
You see, there are only three washing machines and two working driers inside our dorm building. (There are a few more outside, but who wants to go outside? Not me!) These inside washers and driers are on the second floor, which is right across the hall from my room. With sixty women and two working driers, you can imagine what a nightmare this sometimes becomes. It’s normally okay until someone forgets to get their clothes out of the drier…then it gets ugly. Some people are willing to wait an hour, some thirty minutes, but some can hardly wait five. Thankfully, I’ve never been caught in the cross-fire (mainly because I try to wash clothes as little as possible…how’s that for airing some dirty laundry? Pun, intended…). I have witnessed quite a few tense laundry moments though.
One in particular really bothered me. A girl in a room near me (and, thus, the laundry room) told me she carted her laundry downstairs and outside because another girl barked at her when asked her to retrieve her dry clothes. I like both of the girls involved, so it wasn’t a matter of sides. Something infuriated me about this girl not being able to use the laundry machine right next to her room. Before I responded, the Holy Spirit flooded my heart with conviction. My response would’ve been, “but you deserve to do laundry in the room next door!” But oh what a sense of entitlement that is…
I hate that millennials are characterized by this atrocious trait. I’m not even sure what generation I fall into, but I know I obviously catch myself with feelings of entitlement too.
Yet, this sweet girl did not have a sense of entitlement. She described the laundry room outside with enthusiasm, explaining its oasis-like atmosphere.
Ouch. I literally missed the point of the laundry. She was willing to sacrifice herself for others, not sacrifice others to her task. I wanted to do the exact opposite. She saw the need to literally love her neighbor, to help the man brutalized on the side of the road by treating his brokenness with respect. I refused to stop and see the bigger picture. She was the Good Samaritan. I was not.
May our laundry lists be seen as just that, a list. May going through them be filled with joy, service, and love…after all, isn’t that the point?