It would never be considered a sacred space. A place of contemplation and thoughtful introspection.
But it is somewhere I go frequently, some seasons more than others.
My laundry room is a place I experience success. With six kids, I taught myself a system that could get a lot of laundry done quickly and consistently.
In the pauses of each day, I’d put in a load. When dried, I’d fold and put the clothes in a basket. Everyone was expected to put away their own things. I did the laundry because it was cheaper for me to do full loads than having each child do small loads. Our water bills were already astronomical.
I got grief from parents who said I wasn’t teaching my kids responsibility. My kids learned; today, they wear clean clothes they’ve washed.
My laundry room is where this sign hangs. Every time I go in there, I’m confronted with the reality that there is always something for me to be thankful for.
I don’t always feel that way. Especially about laundry.
I live in a first-world culture, and I have the benefit of many things I too often take for granted. Hot, running water. An indoor toilet. The availability of food that satisfies the desires of a family with different tastes. A home we’ve been able to enjoy and use for hospitality. I have family and friends I love, people I work with whom I enjoy, a job I value.
No matter how much I have to be thankful for, I have areas of discontent. Where I want more or different.
I’m not proud of that. A lack of gratitude can feel selfish and shaming.
Then there are those things that seem beyond the possibility of genuine appreciation.
Losses that blare the absence of loved ones, especially on holidays. Disappointments in family, job, life that make it challenging to see past the pain to the hope. People who have hurt us or let us down. Friends who have betrayed us.
The list can be overwhelming.
How is it possible to be thankful, to find a spirit of gratitude, when life throws us a curveball?
It isn’t possible.
Apart from God.
For me, I so often look to my own satisfaction, my happiness, to create a sense of gratitude in me. But thankfulness isn’t based on things or people or workable circumstances.
Gratitude is a choice.
Life is a journey that can’t avoid pitfalls and detours. There are so few choices we have that can make a difference, that will positively impact our world and others’.
Being thankful at the moment acknowledges God is in the details. In His wisdom and knowledge, He sees a bigger, more complex picture of life than we do. He alone understands how the pieces fit together for our good.
If we allow Him into our lives.
We celebrate Thanksgiving, not just as a recognition of a historic event. It’s a valid reminder of the things we have to be thankful for. Even if it’s simply another day with the possibility of impacting our world with who we are.
May you find joy this Thanksgiving apart from your circumstances.
Even if it’s in a laundry room.
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