My MawMaw Louise used to iron underwear.
Not always, but if she ended up with the time she would iron under garments, and towels too.
I remember her scooting around my grandparents house. She was my PawPaw’s mother, making her my paternal great-grandmother. She didn’t have toes on one foot due to cancer, and her bedroom was always the neatest, most pristine room around. She once owned her own cafe, and she could cook and bake like a true Texas champ. Her closet smelled like mothballs.
I thought of her today while ironing a flannel shirt for a dinner I’m heading to tonight. I thought about her standing there in that laundry room of theirs, with a pair of tighty-whities up on the board, getting all the creases out, even though no one would see the outcome but the person wearing them, more than likely. The thought of her doing this made me smile, and remember, and appreciate. It made me feel happier about smoothing out my Van’s flannel shirt. And even after all these years, about 20 actually, the thought of her made me miss her presence.
It also made me think about how I dread the ironing leading up to it, but I rather enjoy it after I’m in the process. It goes back to that notion that menial work allows one time to think, and ponder, and imagine. I walked away from the iron feeling calmer than I did when I came to it.
Perhaps I should start ironing undies, too? To gain the benefit of thought even further? To know the satisfaction of a job done well with my own hands?
No. We won’t push it.
But seriously, MawMaw and the ironing brought that whole ‘greenhouse days’ idea back to the forefront of my mind. It needed to be there again.
Speaking of minds, one of my kiddos has been dealing with some mind tendencies lately that they haven’t been able to chase away on their own. We have prayed, sought counsel, discussed, encouraged, spoken truth – and there it remains. The other day this child was standing in a sibling’s room and noticed a Bible laying on a bed, felt compelled to pick it up, flip it open, and let it fall where it may. Like truly, felt as if they were being told to do so. (We know opening up the scriptures and just pointing to something isn’t always how you should do it, but on rare occasions, when really inclined by the Spirit to do so, it has panned out.)
My child’s eyes landed on a passage about “guarding the gates”. This is nothing short of divine. Being the gatekeeper is what I had profusely been speaking over the situation. I had been telling this child that while we can’t control what comes to our minds, we can certainly control what festers and stays there. We decide what sits. My child recognized the message, then felt led to read a separate passage, on the page opposite. It said to “Look to the Lord and his strength. Always look to him. Remember the wonderful things he has done. Remember his miracles.” Remember, remember, remember… And this? It’s what I’d also been telling them. I told them to think on what is good, what God has done, how much He loves us, and on and on.
After this kid had taken it all in, and realized how it ran directly parallel to the things their parents had been saying, they ran down stairs and opened up that New Revised Version and shared with the family. It sent us all into faith.
Today, on Tuesday of Holy Week, I have two things to deposit here:
- Continue to embrace the value of the greenhouse days, the mundane tasks, and the rich depth of thought that can happen there.
- God still speaks to His people.
Maybe that’s why my great-grandmother with the Cherokee blood opted to iron extra. Maybe she ironed things out with Him while ironing wrinkles out of underwear. Or maybe not. I don’t know. But I love the idea of it.
Over the next few days, push around your schedule a bit to make some time for tasks that serve, tasks that are quiet and that no one may notice, tasks that force you to stand still or sit long or linger. Your mind will unwind and your God will meet you there.
In addition, be open to hearing from Him. It may be a verse, a scripture, a song, art, a conversation, a vision, who knows! But I trust He’ll speak into your life somehow, if you lean your ear up and straighten your gaze out for a few wandering moments. I’ve asked Him to do so for every soul that passes by here this week. Even just now, as I typed the above passage, I felt a holy nudge to change “can” to “will”. I was going to say “your God CAN meet you there”, but apparently it’s supposed to say “your God WILL meet you there.” I like that better.
You’re loved and seen and known, friend.
Back tomorrow, for a Holy hump day of sorts. 🙂