Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Beauty of Dirty Laundry

We are all human.  And in the narrowness of our human minds we tend to want only a narrow range of experiences.  We want good things, like getting correct change and everything we ordered in the Taco Bell drive-thru...or warm weather and brakes that don't squeak and children that do their own laundry.  We want comfortable things, like routine with no sudden "emergencies" and warm socks and children that do their own laundry.  We want only the experiences that make us feel good about ourselves.  We don't want all of those public mistakes and people pointing out our flaws.  We don't want the feelings we get when we discover the crummy gossip (that happens no matter how we might try to live) and hurtful things people whisper to one another.  I don't want the reality of my children never doing their own laundry!

But Life isn't like that. It gives us lots of different things, and sometimes in random order. Along with the joy and pleasure and warm socks, we are going to get some smatterings of anger and frustration and unwashed, filthy, smelly socks (that haven't been washed in weeks and could probably walk to the laundry room all by themselves if they weren't trapped under the mess that is randomly shoved under the bed).  In fact, Life has a way of throwing uncomfortable experiences at us at the most inconvenient of times.

We can rail and fight and resist the injustice of public embarrassment or personal loss or broken trust.  We can rage and fuss about loneliness and heartbreak and being treated unfairly.  But it only leads to more unhappiness.

It's a beautiful thing that the human experience is so varied.  As hard as it sometimes is, we should embrace the whole of our existence, the exhilarating and the devastating.  It is as marvelous to laugh in absolute joy as it is to choke on sobs of emotional pain.  Life is not just the warm and the comfortable.  It is all of it.

Life is short (even the longest ones), and it can be snuffed out unexpectedly.  Today, I choose to embrace it all with open arms (Cue torch-y Journey music) whatever happens, even if it makes me vulnerable.  I won't try to force my life into some mold of perfection or shroud my reality with a veil of forced cheerfulness.  Instead, I will face whatever life brings me, and I will offer myself compassion and kindness even in the face of adversity or copious amounts of dirty laundry.

Because even the laundry that is piled on the children's bedroom floors is something for which to be thankful.  It's a symbol that my children are living...and not just breathing but really, actively living and getting dirty in the process.  They are engaged and active.  They are well-cared for and loved.

And in the same way the hurts that life brings us are something to for which to be thankful.  They are symbols that we are alive and vulnerable and that we are living...and not just breathing but really, actively living.  And sometimes we get hurt in the process.

All of life is beautiful in it's own way, even the hurt, even the anger, even the sadness, even the dirty laundry.

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