By Samantha McKenzie
When I was growing up in a household of five, I had two main chores: cleaning the bathroom and doing the laundry.
We didn’t have a washer and dryer in my home. I had to gather all the dirty clothes from the shared family hamper, load up the shopping cart with a large bag of garments, sheets and towels and squeeze in the detergent, fabric softener and bleach containers. Next, I’d trek down the street to the neighborhood laundromat and begin my weekly task of separating by colors, sorting by fabrics and taking time to read the instructions for items that required to be “handled with care.”
I spent hours in this facility, every Saturday morning, watching the machines conduct the repetitive job of washing away the dirt from last week’s adventures. As unkempt as it was, I began to like the smells and the sounds: The mixed bouquet of detergents and softeners, the humming noises from the dryers and the warm comforting feeling I got from folding the freshly cleaned clothing.
I learned quickly the best time to get there, which machines worked better and how to avoid actually touching my brother’s filthy socks. I took pride in getting the white clothes whiter and keeping the colored clothes from bleeding. I watched the water slither in and form soapy bubbles in between the rotating clothing.
I learned many lessons from this one chore – lessons that would help me understand life’s cyclical nature and constant rhythms.
I learned that just like laundry, people go through situations in life and if we are willing to endure each cycle, things will work themselves out. Some days our situations feel like the dirty sweatshirt that just needed a little extra soap. Other days we are clean enough to give someone else a shoulder to lean on.
I learned from my experience that each stage of this seemingly unpleasant chore was absolutely necessary. You can’t skip a cycle or speed one up. To get yourself to the next step, you had to endure each phase of the process.
And this is life. Much like the next load of laundry, we are all constantly getting dirty, washing ourselves off, and making strides to get to a better place.
Allow yourself to go through these progressions and treasure the time you have to prepare for what’s to come.