Friday, August 8, 2014

Lessons From The Laundry Room

I sit down to breathe for a minute, pausing in the space between loads of laundry. As I slowly exhale, I think of all the things I really ought to be doing, and, instead, I pick up my phone and start typing (my desktop is old and slow, and it is just easier to let my thumbs tap away on the small screen than to fight with aging technology). Also, the breeze on the screen porch is uncharacteristically lovely for August. I sit down, breathe, and write. 

I really should be upstairs. I have just begun to attempt to get my house in order (both my literal house and the one inside). I have finally reached a new place, something that has eluded me for the last two decades. I am finally emerging from the stage of life where I have babies who require my constant physical and emotional attention. My youngest is 4. And, I have begun by tackling my laundry room, a repository for many of the Things With No Place for the last several years. 

It occurs to me that this is the longest I have ever gone without a pregnancy since I was 26 - yes. A full twenty years. Seven babies. Many in close succession. No wonder I feel as though I have never quite caught my breath. 

So, for the first time in many, many years, I am able to savor real coffee during my mid-morning break, and get back to work, exulting in the rush of the once-forbidden caffeine. There are many, too many, piles that I have to sort through, I realize. When you are walking, zombie-like and besotted with deep love and sleep deprivation during those first months and years, the non-essential thinks get pushed to the corners. 

Only now, have I been able to muster the resources to begin to find my way, again. To sort through the dusty piles and put everything in its place, throw out the unusable, and clean out the corners. I never really understood exactly the toll that those years can take until I came through on the other side. If I can carry only one thing forward, with me, from this place, it is this... That there is always Grace. 

There is Grace in unswept floors and piles of forgotten laundry and never-ending mending. There is Grace in the yogurt stain on the wall. There is Grace in the dark hours of the night and in the heavy-lidded watch of late afternoon. There is always Grace. 

And, that, even now, there is Grace, for me, too. Grace enough to see me through that much-neglected laundry room, and beyond, to whatever the next thing may be.