Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ironing Clothes and Cleaning up Messes

For the longest time, I had this aversion to ironing. I avoided ironing anything at all costs. By the time I got the ironing board and iron out and ironed the shirt or skirt or whatever wrinkled piece of clothing I wanted to wear, I was usually so frustrated that I would just throw the piece of clothing back in the laundry and vow to get it out of the dryer as soon as the cycle was done next time, to avoid it wrinkling. I tend to be really slow at doing things like ironing and chopping vegetables. So it took a lot of time. And I always ended up making more wrinkles with the iron than I eliminated. Is it just me or do other people have this problem? So my go-to method throughout high school, college, and the first few years of married life was to spray the wrinkled piece of clothing with a spray bottle and shake it out and let it hang dry. Or put the piece of clothing in the bathroom while I took a really warm shower and let the steam work its magic.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because about a month ago, I started ironing my husband's work clothes and anything else that was wrinkled. I realized awhile back, that I wanted to go out of my way a little bit more to make life better for my family. (I am a little lazy and am trying to improve in little ways.) And for my husband, the thought that came to mind was to iron his work clothes. What does this do for him? Really not a whole lot from a temporal point of view. I hope it makes him look and feel a little sharper and smarter and happier as he goes to work each day-- but it probably doesn't do that to a huge degree. (I mean, let's be honest, the most frustrating thing about ironing is that you know as soon as you put the clothes on and sit down, everything is going to get all creased and wrinkled again.) So, what's the point, eh?

The point is not that the clothes are wrinkled again by the end of the day. The point is that he starts his day as his biggest, brightest self. And I got to contribute to that in some small way. He knows it. I know it. And that feels rather fine.

It is kind of how I feel at the end of the day when I am doing the dishes and tidying the kitchen and living room for the umpteemth time, full well-knowing that in 12 hours the dishes will be dirty again and toys will once again reign triumphant all over the floor. The point isn't that it will all get dirty again. The reason I clean up at the end of the day is so that I can start fresh the next day. I can wake up to order. Order is so beautiful. So, so beautiful. Things flourish in order. And I feel like I am giving all of us our best chance for sanity and joy if we start the day with things clean and in their proper place. (Granted, sometimes cleaning at the end of the day just means putting things in piles out of the way so I don't have to see them when I get up in the morning.)

I think that is how life is, how we are. It doesn't do much for ourselves if we stop trying or stop admitting mistakes or bad habits just because we are going to mess up again at some point anyway. Or it is just too hard or too annoying to have to start over again and again and again. There came a point in my life, where I realized that I had to start owning who I was--the person I was becoming. And that meant I had to take a good long look at myself and start trying to iron out the "wrinkles" and clean out the "garbage" in me. The hateful thoughts and actions, the idle time, the selfishness. Every night. And isn't it glorious that when we do this we can wake up in the morning our best and brightest selves? When it happens, it feels really great. All this because the Savior set a perfect example; and He not only laid it out in perfect words, He lived what He taught perfectly. And I know that because of Him, little by little, the wrinkles and garbage can be removed from me permanently and that gives me hope and makes me feel very, very loved. It is why I try.

"The Lord will always keep His promise: “I will lead you along.”6 The only question is, will we let ourselves be led? Will we hear His voice and the voice of His servants?
I testify that if you are there for the Lord, He will be there for you.7 If you love Him and keep His commandments, you will have His Spirit to be with you and guide you. “Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good. … By this shall you know, all things … pertaining unto things of righteousness.”8  Elder Robert D. Hales, "Meeting the Challenges of  Today's World "
I am going to be honest: I want to listen to Christmas music right now. I know, it isn't even Halloween yet...

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