Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dorothy Parker Quote and Laundry

I have a quote hanging over my desk that I found in a magazine last summer. I am not sure if it was Oprah or Real Simple…but it moved me. I cut it out and laminated it and have been staring at it for almost a year now.

The quote, written under a still life, is from Dorothy Parker and reads:

“It’s not the tragedies that kill us, it’s the messes.”

This quote struck me today as I cleaned up the house.

You may recall, I was out of town last week, which meant that the kids and Fred were home alone. For the whole week. Fred was on vacation that week as well, and had his list of things he wanted to accomplish all written out. I confess, several of the items on the list were my additions.

I came home to a mess.

Oh, it wasn’t too bad. It was mostly laundry. You already know about me and laundry, and I will touch on the topic again later in this blog.

But what I would like to address here is the messes that we encounter in our lives and how they have the power to grind you down.

Fred and I have been married for 22 years now. We have endured hardships of every kind. We have faced poverty, unemployment (mine…three times); a cross country move, leaving tearful family members in our wake, and illnesses, not the least of which, Fred’s cancer.

Fred and I are always good in the face of hardship. During times of trial and difficulty it is remarkably clear why we are still together. We are great team, Fred and I and I love him with all my heart. I am thankful to have such a strong partner.

So our hardships have only served to make us a better team. But what about the messes?

Take laundry, for example. The photo editor of this magazine knew exactly what she was doing, placing this quote under an ironing board. And yes, I would be willing to bet money I can't afford to lose, that a woman put this quote and photo together.

If Fred and the kids would only learn how to do would be golden. hard is this?

Dirty laundry goes into the hamper. It then gets moved to the washing machine, followed by the dryer and finally get folded and put away. There's the rub. The putting away. Like I said, Fred had attempted laundry while I was gone but the rule in our house is it doesn't count unless I can't see it. That means hung up or in drawers. I am such a slave driver, aren't I?

But laundry is really only a metaphor for the things in our daily life that pile up, get underfoot and stink up our life. There are countless other things that get in the way of seeing what we really need to pay attention to...those we love, the beauty of creation, friends.

So I am trying to keep laundry in its place and not let it blind me of the great things in my life. Why should it take a tragedy for us to notice them?