The Ministry of Laundry


I loathe laundry.

But it has to get done.

I commiserate with my fellow moms when they post status updates regarding their “Mt. Washmores,” or photos of the pile of clean laundry that they have yet to fold. Laundry is not fun. Each little piece of clothing needs your attention — even that dreaded, missing sock. 

About a year ago I attended a workshop on prayer given by my pastor at the time, Fr. Jacob Bertrand. He touched on subject of prayer through suffering and referenced the book, Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within by Thomas Dubay which says,

Suffering of itself does not improve a person. If you and I become cynical or grouchy in our hardships we are getting worse, not better. But if we embrace the pain with willed love, we are growing.

He goes on to say that, with the help of the Lord, we can bear our sufferings with great joy. Imagine that!

I’m not gonna lie – It takes me a while to offer my suffering to the Lord. After a little grumbling and passive-aggressive words, I surrender and tackle that pile of laundry. My ingrained “Catholic guilt” gets the best of me and I start thinking, “there are people who would be happy to have clean clothes that fit.” Or, “I’m blessed to have the convenience of a washing machine and dryer in my home when so many don’t.” Then it turns into, “God willed that I have this family. I must take care of their basic needs.”

Washing and drying is the easy part. But folding — ugh. So why not let everyone fold their own clothes? I’ve tried that and ended up with piles of clean laundry in my kids’ rooms and next to my husband’s side of the bed. Soon, they can’t distinguish what’s clean and dirty anymore and just put everything in the laundry again. Bottom line, It just won’t get done. Yes, at times I’ve become resentful that my family doesn’t see laundry and housework as I do — as a duty to my family to show my love for them. But perhaps they’ll come around and help out just a bit. I have to keep my gaze on the cross. Jesus was a servant leader, not a micro-manager. 

 Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but [also] everyone for those of others. Phil 2:3-4

In offering my burdens to the Lord, every fold, every stain that didn’t quite come out, every wrinkled shirt that has been sitting in the clean basket for too long turns into an “I love you.” 

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