When What Seems Like Big Trials Turn Out To Really Not Be So Big
For the second time this week, our washing machine decided to give out. Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated that as soon as I thought it was up and running again, it breaks right before Christmas. This time I believe it was the last time running for this washing machine.
My husband loaded all our dirty clothes, sheets and blankets in the van and I headed to the laundry mat. I was glad to have a little bit of a break from being around the kids 24/7 but still not happy that the time was having to be spent at an expensive laundry mat.
I loaded the clothes in the washers trying to avoid a man who would not seem to leave me alone. Frustrated that I couldn’t just have some quiet time, I ran to get some coffee from the local coffee shop while the clothes washed. As I talked a little to the barista. She asked me what I was up to today and I told her I was running ragged trying to get laundry done before heading to a funeral, baking and cleaning my house and cleaning the church. Her comment was “Well, there is always good that comes out of each bad situation. At least you get to get all your laundry done at once and you aren’t the one the funeral is for”. Talk about a slap in the face… she was right but I just was enjoying gripping. Gripping about silly little things that didn’t amount to anything.
As I left the coffee shop, my “new to me” van started making noises, I thought about how my ice maker in my new fridge quit working this week, I have a stove with no handle on it, medical bills galore and now a broken washing machine. Poor me. And then, those words rang in my head again and I had to stop and ask God to let me have a better attitude and find things to be thankful for.
I got back to the laundry mat, switched the clothes to the dryers and ran to Walmart. I have torn ligaments in my ankle and dread having to walk very far. I pulled in the parking lot and found a front row parking space. Right by the door! It’s Christmas! Front row parking spaces seem non-existant. BUT, I found one immediately! I went in, got what I needed and didn’t even have to wait in line! Again, it’s Christmas.
I got back to the laundry mat in a little better mood but still looking for some reason to be thankful I “got to be” at the laundry mat 2 days before Christmas. As I was folding clothes, I started thinking about some brand new towels I received FREE, just when we desperately needed new ones. I thought about how ALL these clothes I was busy folding were nice clothes that have been given to us by friend’s who’s children outgrew them or from my mother in law who owns a thrift store. God has been good to us.
THEN, the icing on the cake. A man came in and walked straight to me and introduced himself. I had met him one of the other times my washing machine broke. He is mentally handicapped. His mom still takes care of him at 46 years old. I thought about how easy I had it with three healthy children without any disabilities. The man was like a little kid. So happy, talkative AND JOYFUL!
I had a hard time holding back the tears when he asked me if I would go with him sometime to the dance at his school. He asked me if my husband and kids would come because they always have so much fun there. Over and over he told me he loved me, he liked me and I was his friend. As he was leaving he told me that he would miss me and hopes I come to his dance sometime.
I talked to his mom for a good while, while we both were folding clothes. She told me about how she puts a dance on every week for the group homes in the area because that was something her son loves to do. How awesome is that?! I thought, if someone who has raised a child for 46 years and still cares enough about him to do something he loves, how could I be griping and complaining about having to wash my kid’s clothes at a laundry mat.
I saw the reason I was there… to see a man with such joy and happiness rubbed off on me. To see a mom who is giving her all to make sure that her son, even at 46 is cared for and loved. Then on the way home, to pass our church with the family all dressed in black standing outside grieving the loss of their husband, dad, uncle, son, brother. Thank you washing machine for breaking today so I can see how small of problems I really have!