12 Feb 2014

How doing laundry together changed 400 lives

There are days it’s easy to feel lost in a grown up’s life.

And that your routine of Cheerios and dishes, car pool, cubicles, commuter traffic and laundry distance you from ministry. From being a change maker. A loud speaker hailer. A faith trail blazer.

I blew two deadlines last week, the chicken went bad in the fridge because I kept forgetting to cook it and my daughter stood and screamed for a good ten minutes when she woke up from her nap. Screamed good and red in the face and nothing could make it better.

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Sometimes we’re all stuck in our uncomfortable, awkward stories and grown ups aren’t supposed to just scream out all the frustration at the top of their lungs.

I go down on my knees beside her little chubby legs. They’re curving over the edge of her crib that’s a big-girl bed now without the one side. The same crib that came with me all the way from South Africa. She is glaring snot and tears into my face, her sweaty curls plastered to her cheeks. I reach for her and she swats at me and doesn’t want what I know she wants.

I gently take her hands and pull her up. Her tender self all frustration and sweat and vulnerability melting into me. I cup her with my arms and my words and slowly stroke those damp curls back from her cheeks. I rock her and we’re both listening to the music and watching each other in the mirror and there is comfort in frustration and fury shared.

I hold all she is and none of it repulses, angers, isolates me.

I hold her and I am holding myself.

All these aching parts; grown ups wear their bruises on the inside.

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I rock her as she wails and slowly she dissolves into me and her head burrows into my neck and I can feel her tears salty sweet against my skin. Daughter of mine, self made over again, I love you.

And this is an act of the divine – to enter the life and story of another. To set ourselves aside for a moment and say, “I remember you. I see you.”

Mothers do this thing. This amazing stepping into the shoes and skin and stories of tiny humans.

In the midst of the dishes and the car pooling and baseball games and picking up the milk and doing the laundry. In the midst of doing the laundry mothers make time. They stop and go and stop and go a thousand thousand times a day and this is the holy tabernacle of remembering.

Always making time to remember someone else in the midst of the hurly burly of their days. And nights. And days again. Mothers remember that there is always more to the story than themselves.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised last fall when you all remembered your sisters in South Africa. And funded a new community water point and laundry center in less than 12 hours flat!

And in December I shouldn’t have been covered in goosebumps with tears choking out my eyes and clogging up my throat when I saw what you had built. When I saw what happened because you stopped between loads of laundry and stepped into the shoes of a whole community of women in South Africa.

This is your water point in progress.

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This is your community laundry center coming together because you stopped in the middle of your loads of laundry.

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Because you stopped between runs to the grocery store and the school.

Stopped on your way to work.

Stopped between making the lunch and making the dinner.

I shouldn’t have been so amazed that so many mothers would stop and remember what it might be like to do laundry without a washer, over an open hose, in a small community in Maubane, South Africa.

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And say, “No. Not on our watch.” And get about the business of building something better.

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Because we are perhaps at our most human and most sacred when we forget ourselves and open our arms and hearts to the aches and needs of our sisters in Christ. Because in that moment we remember Him.

The Jesus who moved into the neighborhood – next door to you and me and mamas in Maubane and farmer’s wives in Canada and Iowa.

I come with hands full of thanks – full up and running over between my fingers – all this thanks like fresh water spilling out of my palms.

The next time you think you’re “just” a mom, remember this. Remember what a community of moms and neighbors and friends separated by an ocean but connected by a Holy Spirit can do together.

Remember how we all danced and laughed at the joy of doing laundry together.

All of us sisters stopping to remember.

Because on Friday?

On Friday I’m going to ask you to stop with me again. And linger for the next few months with this community.

On Friday I’m going to invite you into a Valentine’s Day Love Flash Mob.

And all because you built a water point and we did laundry together.

Because love is bigger than a date on the calendar.

And because there’s no such thing as “just a mom.”

Comments

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  1. 1

    Oh, this is beautiful, Lisa-Jo! Love your heart–and I love how you invite us all in to participate in how it leads, loving and serving. Thank you.

  2. 2

    Beautiful. Nothing like a good cry in the morning, especially when they are tears of someone touching your heart.

  3. 3

    I can’t wait to help! God is so good.

  4. 4

    I needed this, in about a million different ways. Thank you. <3

  5. 5

    So Much Yes! Let’s DO this thing! Leaning in and reaching out with you… with Him!
    So Much Love!

  6. 6

    I am so excited to join with you and this awesome community to pass on the love.

Trackbacks

  1. […] year Lisa-Jo partnered with her beautiful blog community and Pure Charity to raise more than $5,000 (in 12 hours flat!) to build a community water point in […]

  2. […] In the weeks that have followed, this project keeps coming to mind. I’m so inspired by being able to so directly help one community that has very specific needs. I love it that we can all see updates on Lisa-Jo’s blog about how the money is being used — in the Fall her readers funded a community water point and laundry center, and she’s been posting pictures of the progress. […]