Two weeks ago I was still ostensibly the person responsible for doing laundry, though I’ll allow that a party of alpinists had contacted us about permits for ascending Mt. Foldmore. But let’s harken back to the days of old, when it sometimes happened that a person could toss his clothes into the laundry hamper, and a few days later find those clothes clean, and folded, and waiting in the drawer or closet for their next use.
There’s was something of cycle to it, though, and often the sock and underwear drawers would get perilously empty. And then one day, just when things had gotten very grim, a certain SuperHusband would wake up and discover his drawers were restocked, and he would proclaim, “Behold! The Laundry Fairy has come!”
And I would remind him that there is no Laundry Fairy. That was your wife who did that for you, thank you very much.
This morning’s Gospel is one of those miraculous feedings of the crowds. (Mark 8:1-10). What caught my eye today wasn’t the Jesus part, it was the people part. Our Lord observes, “They’ve been with me three days now, and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, for they have come a great distance.” The disciples up the stakes: “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them, here in this deserted place?”
Those are the miracle conditions. You’ve stuck around with the Jesus Person until you’ve run out of food and have no way of getting more. You didn’t bail even as you approached the point of no return.
You’ve let yourself get desperate. Empty-handed. No way to make it on your own.
–> There’s an aid to faith here, by the way, if you can stick through the tempting part, the getting-out-while-you-still-can. Once your case is hopeless, there’s really not much point in trying to turn elsewhere. Makes it easier to stick the final corners.
And that’s when the miracle shows up. Not before. If there’s something consistent in the Gospels, it’s that desperation. Joyful, hopeful? Sometimes, yes. But unequivocal: Jesus isn’t one more tool in the portfolio. It’s got to come down to Him being the only way.
(And yeah: You’re left as your only hope with Someone who’s idea of goodness involves self-sacrifice and an eternal outside-of-time-frame. If what you want is a patched-up Old Earth, you’re fresh out of luck. That’s not what He does. Not how He does it.)
Of course God sends us thousands of natural helps every day as well. Our very existence — in this life or the next one — is only by virtue of Him keeping us here. But either way, whether in the day-to-day miracle of ordinary life, or the big moments of divine intervention on this side of the grave or the other, there’s a consistent theme: No Laundry Fairy. That was Me, thank you very much.
Back to practical stuff: SuperHusband’s taken over the mom-jobs like groceries and meals and laundry, but in a pared-back way that makes it not so overwhelming. Our friends and family are totally showing up to do all the extras, like getting kids to activities, or whipping out dinner when we’re way late getting home from doctors appointments. I had three different people offer to step in and get the girls their valentine supplies. All that makes the load on Jon much, much lighter.
But something specifically laundry-related that we did was to give me a basket in the bedroom where my clean laundry lives. So no one ever has to put my laundry away in drawers and closets, only to have to pull it back out again. The nice thing about my particular state of decrepitude is that it isn’t fashion-intensive*. A pair of jeans to wear and one to wash. Ditto on PJ’s. Underwear, socks, a pile of t-shirts, a jacket. That’s it. You can store all that in a single laundry basket, no problem. None of it really needs to be ironed. Works great.
*In contrast, in normal life on any given day I might have:
- Work clothes for doing stuff in the yard
- Normal less-grungy clothes
- Church clothes
- Possibly something business-y, or business-casual.
- Usually not workout clothes, because normal stuff works for that, but maybe yes, depending.
Completely different game.
And as long as we’re playing the gratitude game, you know whom I really appreciate? The people who’ve picked up slack for me on stuff I could do, but they could do instead. It is remarkable how much fortitude gets consumed on accomplishing very very little. I’m massively thankful for the slack I’ve been cut in a few places. Pure luxury.