Down on My Knees
Today – it is only 9:43 am – and already I have had one of those life lesson days. You’d think I wouldn’t have to expose my mind to such philosophical points of view so early, but lessons are not planned. They simply happen. Here’s today’s lesson:
Don’t Skip the Basics
How obvious! Yes? No!
I’m frazzled these days – change of seasons, change of life, changes in life. Ordinary and not-so-ordinary living kinds of things. My mind was full this morning chewing on all those nasty bits and I was giving it unlimited chomping privileges.
But there were things to do, whether or not I wanted to do them, and I had baskets of dirty clothes and a rainy day and a morning without a deadline or appointment. Good time for tackling the ever-erupting laundry hamper. Mind half on my task, I sorted the clothes in the appropriate piles and carried the first load down to the washing machine.
Whites were first. I hate white clothes – all that underwear and a dozen-plus tee-shirts to be sorted by sizes and folded. White socks without their mates. A few cotton shirts that actually need ironing. (Why, I ask myself over and over, do I wear these shirts? Because they feel so clean and crisp when I need that clean, crisp feeling, I answer). And a pair of white jeans.
I pulled out the spot remover and tackled hard-to-erase grass stains from the knees of the jeans, stains that were ground in well. Ground in while I was kneeling in a thick, wet lawn to take a close up photo of an antique tin flower that had caught my eye. The stain came out, but it took a while. A rather long while.
After all the clothes were in the machine, I realized I hadn’t checked pockets. Water was spraying all over, the suds were bubbling, and I simply didn’t feel like putting my hands in the soapy mess.
“Nah,” I convinced myself, way too easily. “Nothing in those pockets. Just jeans.” And so I clunked the lid down and went off to tackle the challenges in my world. I planned on counteracting all those garbage thoughts with some wholesome journal writing.
I was really into my words when the washer stopped, and feeling more than a little irrationally irritable at the machine, I stalked over to it and dumped the clothes from the washer into the dryer. I was back in my favorite writing nook when a thought crept out of my brain for examination. “Do you want to check those pockets now?” it whispered.
“NO,” I retorted. It’s a little sad when you find yourself screaming – and you are sitting all alone in a quiet house.
So of course, you know what happened, don’t you?
There was a cheap black ink pen in my pocket. It made it through the wash cycle, but the plastic ink tube erupted in that warm dryer and leaked ink into my tumbling clothes. And then the ink tumbled and tumbled through those white clothes as they tumbled and tumbled through the dryer.
I retrieved my clothes when the buzzer sounded.
Jackson Pollock would have been proud.
So the few seconds it would have taken me to do the basics have turned into hours now needed to clean the inside of the dryer, salvage what I can of a mound of black spattered white clothing, and decide how to replace the necessaries that need replacing.
I just put my second load into the washing machine. And I paid more attention and did the complete job this time. Including pockets. That mindfulness thing. Be aware. Pay attention.
Oh, yeah! Mindfulness. I’m thinking it even applies to doing laundry.