[More musings from the world of summer camp.]
Laundry day. (Again.) We are washing things clean. We are making all things new. All these things…
…things appropriately stuffed into bags – whites mixed with brights mixed with darks, socks mixed with jeans mixed with tees, sweat mixed with muck mixed with food. Laundry is a beautiful jumbled mess of dirt just waiting to be washed and worn again, no matter how dingy and stained it may be (dinginess and stains being the entire point of laundry in the first place).
There is only one requirement here: turn the clothes right side out, please. It cuts the folding time in half. For the most part, this small request is honored.
And then, behold, someone goes one step further and there is this:
Pre-folded grime. Neatly piled and packaged dirt. Laundry that looks to be already washed and ready to wear.
The fact that a teenager takes the time to neatly fold and politely package his laundry is endearingly delightful.
But I fear that far too often this is just what I do with myself. I gather the grimy stained pieces of my life that accumulate throughout any given day, turn them right side out, fold them, stack them, and package them neatly before handing them over – either grudgingly (“Really, they’re not that dirty. I could live in them for at least another day or week or month”) or flippantly (“Laundry. Whatever.”) or shamefacedly (“Oh. Hmm. Well, yes, okay. But, um, no need to look closely before washing them, and please keep in mind that most of those stains are beyond my control”) or angrily (“If you’d just limit the dirt around me – which you could do if you wanted…”).
Too often I care more about appearing washed than being washed. (But even if dirt can be hidden, its stench cannot.)
Too often I care more about hiding stains than exposing stains. (Stains flipped inside out, though, are still stains.)
Too often I care more about being in a neatly folded pile than being fully alive. (Neat piles of clothes, however, are pointless unless eventually worn.)
Were that large mountain of right-side-out laundry my life, it would be better left inside out when handing it over for sanctification since sanctification is a from-the-inside-out process, starting in the heart, soul, and mind. Besides, God does not need to cut down on his folding time.
Were that neatly folded small pile of laundry my life, it would be better left as a muddled mess since muddled messes are more likely to desire and appreciate being cleansed and changed. Besides, God is not impressed by my attempts at self-improvement.
That I can – and must – humbly fall as I am at the feet of Jesus each and every day is not easy in a world that encourages self-made (and remade, and remade again) identities. But I can make no such thing, let alone remake it. What joy it is, then, to know the Maker of all things and the reMaker of all who would be remade.
And so my prayer for today is simply this: “Here I am, Lord – inside out and unfolded. Have your way with me.”