For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
I’ve been doing laundry long enough to know that I should check the pockets of garments before throwing them in the wash. But I can be lazy. More than once, I’ve consciously decided to skip this step just because I couldn’t be bothered.
Most times it’s fine. But if and when there’s that random tissue tucked in a pocket, the havoc it wreaks is astounding. The tissue gets shred into a million pieces that cling to every item of clothing and to the barrel of the washer itself. When you pull the laundry out, it’s like a snowstorm showering flakes all over the floor.
The cleanup is like a hazmat operation: everything needs to be shaken out and rewashed at least once, if not twice. Then the floor needs to be swept over and over again.
Those shreds of tissue are like pine needles on a dried up Christmas tree. You find them in corners and crevices weeks after the incident, no matter how many times you’ve swept. That’s when I really kick myself, realizing that if I’d just taken the two minutes to check the pockets, I’d have saved myself all the resulting work.
I’ve had a few interactions with people that have had the same end result.
We should always be checking our hearts and minds to be sure we’ve worked through issues with others, making sure there are no unresolved remnants left behind. When we skip this step, it’s astounding how slivers of an issue can cling on, rearing their ugly heads when we least expect them.
One minute we’re having a nice conversation with our spouse or friend, and the next we’re spewing shards of past hurts all over them. An issue that could have been dealt with in two minutes had we approached it head on turns into an hour-long conversation that puts the other party on the defensive.
Although laundry is a mundane and brainless task, there are steps involved that shouldn’t be skipped, especially when it comes to checking the pockets. When we do what we should, our clothes come through the wash lovely and clean.
Relationships can be complex and require care. When we maturely face and lovingly work through the pockets of conflict that arise along the way, those relationships strengthen and grow in the most beautiful ways.
Questions for Refection:
* Do I tend to check the pockets of both my laundry and my heart?
* What happens when I skip this step?
Not too long ago, I found that the contents of one of my pants pockets had attached itself to my laundry as well. It reminded me of the times when I was caring for my mother and doing the wash was one of the many tiring jobs of my day, so often I had missed a tissue she had left in her pocket. While I cleaned up my mess, the tears began to fall and soon I was sobbing, and I thought that I would cheerfully clean up tissue mess every day if only I could have her back. When I dried my tears, I gulped out some laughs, imagining for just a moment that tissue pieces were little clouds from heaven she sent to remind me of her.
Oh Lynn Marie, this is such a beautiful and touching story! Thank you for sharing it! I absolutely love how you took the mess of shredded tissues and were able to see little pieces of clouds from heaven instead. That’s definitely a vision seen through eyes of love. I do think God lets our loved ones send us messages, reminders and reassurance. So glad you were open to that message so it could comfort and bless you.