Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men. ~ Ephesians 6:7
“Where’s the laundry room? You left out the laundry room.”
My face flushed as I realized my client was right.
About a year ago I was asked to design a house for a couple who wanted a unique floor plan that required a little more creativity than I usually have to expend. After several hours of work, I finally had a plan I knew they’d love. After revealing the design, I waited for the accolades to roll off their tongues. Instead, I heard that one major criticism. In 27 years of designing houses, I’d never once left out a laundry room. How on earth could I forget about the room where I personally spend major chunks of my day? Ugh!
Needless to say, it was back to the drawing board–literally.
I don’t know about you, but in my home the laundry room is considered the most important room. It’s command central. It’s also a disaster on most days. Oh, it might be clean for a few brief hours, but then when everyone starts slinging off boots and muddy clothes, you’d never know I’d darkened the door that day.
To make matters worse, my son, Jacob, has started working with my husband laying out water and sewer lines for the summer. That means I have two men jumping in and out of ditches, gluing pipe together and doing anything else required that usually involves as much dirt and grime as a guy can get into. Oh joy.
Last week was particularly brutal for my washer and dryer. My husband, John, thought it would be a great idea to plant wheat this year. Since I’d never experienced having my husband work in a combine all day harvesting wheat, I was blissfully unaware of the coming avalanche of work clothes that would be added to my daily pile.
Five showers. That’s how many John took in just one day while harvesting wheat. Every time I turned around there were new mountains of greasy, dusty, wheat-covered clothes lying on the floor in front of the laundry room door. How could one man be so picky about cleanliness when he worked in sewers most days?
Jacob tried to ease my frustration by explaining that since the air conditioner had broken in the combine, the doors had to be left open while he cut. This, coupled with the fact it was 90 degrees and John was sweating profusely, caused the wheat to be drawn to him like a magnet and almost blocked his vision of the approaching field.
Okay. I get it. But it didn’t ease my washing machine’s groan, or mine, as it reached its maximum capacity.
Thankfully, he finished cutting the last of the wheat on Saturday. I don’t recall ever seeing my man so dirty, exhausted, and happy—all at the same time. He was in farmer’s heaven, beaming a smile through all the grime.
When I saw how delighted he was with his work, I couldn’t be upset with him. God gave him a desire to work the land, so who was I to complain about a little (or a lot) of laundry?
Many days the frustrations of picking up clothes, blankets, cups, shoes (the list could go on infinitely) can overwhelm me. I get mad and start to spew at my family, wanting to ask the question my mom used to ask us in jest (mostly), “What’d your last maid die of—overwork and underpay?” I always laughed at that question, but now I can appreciate the significance of it. That’s sure what it feels like.
I remember something I read by Lysa Terkuerst years ago. She was complaining under her breath about her family’s lack of desire for picking up after themselves… until she had a profound thought. The feet that held the scattered shoes, the hands that held the cups sprinkled about, and the wads of blankets that snuggled the bodies belonged to the people she most loved in this world. The evidence of life in her home was a blessing—not a curse.
I can’t say I love all of the mud clopped through my kitchen, or the dishes strewn about, but I do love the people who leave the mess. I love them so much it hurts sometimes. And I can’t imagine my life without them. As the words in a Martina McBride song declare, I have been blessed. Truly and immeasurably more than I could have asked or imagined.
Is your family getting on your last nerve? Stop and remember the blessing they’ve been to you. And don’t forget to thank God for them.
Have you had an epiphany concerning your own family? Please share what you’ve learned so we can all benefit from it.