Monday, June 11, 2012
The Laundry Offer
If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help--or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? the offer, while well meaning and often given, "Let me know if I can help" is really no help at all." - Ronald L. Rasband; LDS General Conference April 2012
We were 10 minutes late to church and the only pew big enough to fit our family of three restless toddlers was near the front. A pregnant mamma waddled down the aisle, holding the hand of one of her little ducklings, while daddy and two other ducks followed close behind. With the help of goldfish crackers, sippy cups full of water, crayons and trucks, we made it through the hour long service.
"Nursery!" Cried one of my munchkins.
"Big backhoe!" Another one chimed in, already making their way to the end of the pew.
Our church nursery has one of the biggest toy backhoes my kids have ever seen. Given their slight obsession with heavy machinery, we have no problems getting them to stay and enjoy their time playing with toys, singing songs, having a snack and learning about Jesus.
As I make my way out of the pew, watching my three walk with dad, a bag strapped over my shoulder, a woman comes up to me and asks me how I'm feeling.
"Oh, good." I reply with a kind of smile I've put on lately. Sincere, but weary.
"So, I'll be by tomorrow to pick up your laundry." She says this as if we had already talked about it.
"Wait, what? My laundry? Why?" I was caught a little off guard and wondered if my pregnant brain had erased a conversation.
"Because I want to help you. I'm too old to get down on the floor and play with the kids, but I can do laundry."
My eyes got a little wet. Never mind that laundry is my least favorite chore. (I'm positive she doesn't read my blog, how did she know this?) But there is a constant stream of it, and piles through out the house that never end, only rotate. And the bigger my belly gets, the more I slow down. As this baby grows, my kids get busier, faster, louder, talk backier. It's not the greatest formula for a well functioning household.
I hesitate. I could say thanks, but no thanks. But she was so sure that this was happening. So sincere in her offering. So full of love.
"Thanks," I stammer, holding back tears. "That would be really great. Thank you."
She smiles, tells me she'll be by around 9:30.
And she was. She returned later that day with a box full of clean, folded and pressed (SHE IRONED!) laundry. She then told me to have Chris drop it by her house next time on the way to work, that would be easier for her. (NEXT TIME?!!?)
I wrapped my arms around her wise shoulders, gave her a hug and told her how much I appreciated her help.
"Well," she said, "the Lord has blessed me with a lot in my life, so there is a lot I can do."
I know this is a season in my life. I won't always feel like I'm treading water or in a state of exhaustion at the end of each day. It's just a season. I won't have these kinds of offers forever. I won't need them, I'll make them.
And someday, that exact sentence will escape my lips to a mother many decades my junior. The Lord has blessed me with a lot in my life, so there is a lot I can do. When she tells me she's grateful, I'll know she really means it.