There is magic in the mundane, you just need the right lens to see it. Most people, I’d hazard to guess, just see a pile of laundry that desperately needs to be folded in this photograph. Today I see the magic. I’ve been given the gifts of a husband and children: this laundry reveals I have been entrusted with the care of other’s hearts. I’ve been given a home with electricity and running water, hot water even: this laundry reveals my basic needs are provided for. I can physically perform all the tasks required to complete laundry: I’ve been given the gifts of health and strength. The laundry is never done: I’ve been given a gift that keeps on giving, as long as I have the eyes to see it.
The laundry is done. All of it. There is nothing in my hamper, nor in Dylan’s. I don’t want to put on pajamas, because that perfect status of “all taken care of” will be incomplete. Maybe I’ll sleep in my clothes.
The floors are swept and mopped – for probably the first time in a few months (sorry landlords). The toilets are scrubbed, and the dishes are clean, put away in the cabinet. I can see the surface of my kitchen table. The glass on our coffee table is sparkling. We cleaned.
What is thrilling about this state of my house is that I took the intentional effort to regroup and make myself feel a little bit better about launching into a huge week of my life. Huge emotions, huge to do lists, huge excitement. Lots of people and feelings and food and items to carry. Fun items. I absolutely am thrilled that Dylan finds priority in these tasks as well. That lemony scent of floor cleaner is just as soothing to him as it is to me – I think we can thank his mom for that one.
Don’t, however, look in our bedroom, because that seems to be staging for quite the ordeal. We’ve got piles of programs, and candy, and boxes of wine, and gifts and shoes to bring to this location or that. The bubbling anticipation of good things to come hums in those piles, vibrating with the minutes that tick by as we head towards the words “I do”. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure “I Do” is actually written into our vows. Maybe I should look into that.
I feel really good right now, in this moment of ordinary chores, in tasks that I seemingly hate, because they bring familiarity. There is so much beauty in the pause. “All Praise to the Pause”, as Alice Walker would say. It was beautiful to have a break today – from work (slightly, I still went in to get things off my other to do lists), from crowds, from other people. There is beauty in being able to go to bed at 10 pm because I want to, and beauty in my down comforter tucked in next to my ears. There is beauty in the breeze that blows through our open windows cooling down the apartment. There is beauty in this pause, tonight, before the hustle and bustle.
Last night, we went to a family gathering, and I was a little on edge. I am really nervous about being the center of attention, about answering questions and saying hello to more than 125 people. I’m anxious about pleasing people, and making sure the day goes smoothly, and that maybe, someone I love will be disappointed. Dylan told me, “You just get to rally.” I said, “What if, instead, I want to run away?” He said, “That’s not a fun choice in the midst of people that love you.” I have to remember that; they will be there because they love me. I get to be immersed in love, and joy, and maybe a few tense moments and perhaps exhaustion.
Tonight, though, there is beauty in the staging, the preparation, the pause.
We take a deep breath, and we see how it goes.