The last two blog posts I've written have been a tad bit on the serious side. So, I wanted to offer a thought or two on about Spiritual matters that are not quite so heady...
I have been folding a lot of laundry lately. Yes, I, Graham Baird, a hot blooded Scottish-American male have been folding a lot of laundry. And I have been doing it with a smile on m face. Sometimes, I have even been known to strike up a lusty little whistle while I fold away at my house (children's underwear, tee shirts, tube sox, the whole nine yards). I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I have gotten into a big argument with Star and this is my way of getting back into her good graces.
But, No, I am not in the doghouse. No, I am not trying to suck up to my wife. No, I'm not trying to win the award for husband or father of the year. No, I am not particularly adept at making the clothes that I fold fit into perfectly symmetrical shapes. What I have been doing lately is seeing the daily task of folding laundry as a Spiritual act of discipleship.
Let me explain....
Spirituality, as it has commonly been understood throughout the centuries by Christians has often been about the practice of taking ordinary and mundane tasks associated with life, and finding a deeper meaning in them. John the Baptist searched for locusts and wild honey in the desert as a Spiritual task. Moses heard God's voice while shepherding a flock on the far side of the desert. Paul developed a sense of Spiritual rhythm while erecting tents for wealthy business class people.
The Bible is rife with other examples of basic daily tasks which people underwent in the first century which had a kind of rhythm and routine to them - Spirituality. It is not a coincidence that Jesus chose mostly fishermen to be the very first and innermost disciples in his ministry. Fishing in the first century was always partly about fishing but mostly it was about mending nets. The nets that the disciples used were called AMPHIBLESTRONS and they required hours and hours of tying tiny knots and mending holes. This, I believe, was a dynamic of spiritual growth for the disciples. It required patience and attention and rhythm and cadence and assiduousness for them to fix the nets. Ministry requires the same kind of attention.
One of the historical figures I have always looked up to, though have never emulated from a Spiritual or theological standpoint has been Mahatma Ghandi. At the very core of Ghandi's social revolution was the concept that Indians should spin their own broad cloth rather than purchase cloth from Great Britain. Spinning their own broad cloth required Indians to spend many hours at their own weaving and spinning looms, putting fine threads together. The image of Ghandi on his knees spinning raw cotton into thread has become an emblem of his spiritual and national revolution. So important was the spinning loom for Indians that they placed it on the very center of the Indian flag.
I have always felt that one of the reasons that the women of the first century Judea were so much at the center of social life was because they spent so much time collecting water. Water retrieval around the year 1 AD was, and it still is, an act of belabored love and attention. The women, and it was always women, would walk many miles to a well. They would wait in line to fill their buckets or jars or flasks, then they would walk all the way back to their villages in the hot afternoon sun. This regular, rhythmic, cadenced, activity must have helped many of the women who surrounded Jesus have a deep sense of Spirituality. In one story that we know of, Jesus meets a by a well, helps her to find the kingdom of God. "The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (John 4:9).
So, I am going to keep folding. I will fold and not protest about it. I also won't brag about the amount I have been folding. Please don't offer me any praise for this web-blog. That might detract from the Spiritual quest that I am on. To be honest, I find the act of folding laundry somewhat soothing. Probably the reason I don't mind it is because I am not forced to do it, and have found a spiritual reason for it. But as an up-shod, folding the laundry in the house isn't hurting my marriage too much either...And I am getting a lot of clothes folded at the same time.
Wash on, Wash off...Fold in, Fold out...
All For Now,
Part of the reason for my increased domestic