There is something that draws me to hanging laundry on my clothesline. I can’t help but cart my wet clean clothes outside whenever the sun is out and hang each item up, one by one. I can’t rush the process- it takes as long as it takes to get each piece attached to the line. It is such a satisfying experience to watch a full line of clothes blowing gently in the breeze and secretly hope the sun gets a few of those stubborn stains out. A few weeks ago my sweet little niece Violet was born and I was so happy to pull out some newborn clothes and blankets from storage. I washed them all and then hung each out on the clothesline. I remembered my daughter being in each tiny sleeper and being wrapped in the soft pink blankets. I thought also of my little niece and the memories that would be made for her and her family these first few months of life as she wears these sweet clothes.
Kathleen Norris, a poet and contemplative author, wrote a beautiful little book called "The Quotidian Mysteries". In it she describes how the everyday work of living - laundry, cooking, cleaning, bills....can be seemingly endless and feel like it will never come to completion. We can experience it as drudgery - monotonous and life sucking. Or, as Norris suggests, we can look at it in the same way we look at liturgy. It is an exercise that invites us into being present in the moment and moving through each part of our day with intentionality. When we are present we are in sacred space - it is a gift where we settle down and our true self can show up. It is here where our acts of love can transform us. It is also not by accident that we often find ourselves alone as we do these every day chores. Catherine de Hueck Doherty wrote about “Tiny Pools of Silence” which we can find all around us each day. It is in these tiny pools that we often find silence and solitude. We can use these places to reflect and bring ourselves back into presence.
For me, the exercise of hanging clothes outside to dry is a space that invites me to be present, and notice what’s around me. I look at each item I hang up and the person it belongs to. I am invited to connect with the piece of my heart they hold. I am alone and I am quiet. I slow down. And settle down.
Even though the air may be a little crisper outside as we move through October, there is still a lot of sunshine out there. Take the invitation to find presence in your everyday chores, because of course, there will always be laundry to do.
Kimberly Simpson, a native of New Jersey, graduate of Wheaton College and resident of Nashville. Married and mother of three children. Lover of the ocean, gardens, yoga, cooking and travel.