Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The great leveller

Many years ago, we posted a New Yorker cartoon next to our washing machine that shows two very different women in front of a washer. The caption reads, "Laundry -- the great leveller."

I admit that I've always enjoyed carrying freshly laundered clothes, still warm from the dryer (except while at Seabury, where the great accumulation of lint and crud stuck to the machines was scary). And last year, I thought that black clergy shirts were the Mother of All Lint Gatherers because of those particular machines. But it turns out that I was wrong.

We've wondered why clergy shirts become a magnet for lint in a way that no other black clothes ever have or ever will. They go into the machine with no lint, and come out with too many globs of lint to count. I begin to imagine the lint as representing the "stuff" of peoples' lives that we carry. We're healthiest when we carry it for a while and then let it wash away. But then the shirts appear with even more lint than before. I'd thought I was learning to be more detached from bearing peoples' pain and disappointments, but the lint reminds me that the stuff that often clings to us continues tempting us to look in the wrong direction, misspend energy, or forget to trust and hope.

Maybe lint isn't such a bad thing. Maybe it's my great leveller as I make my way through this first year of priesthood.


Blogger Emily Williams said...

That's a beautiful post, Raisin.

10:28 AM  

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