I have always hated doing the washing. The thanklessness, meaningless, never-endingness of it all. The lanundry basket that never empties, even when you have just crammed the machine full with another load. The folding and putting away. The emptying of the machine. The eternal cycle of drudgery. If I could be spared one thing in this life, oh let it be washing clothes.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Emma prayed for me the prayer from Numbers that asks God to bless us:
24 ‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
I appreciated being prayed for, but wondered exactly what it felt like for God to ‘make his face shine on you.’
Now I know.
I finished radiotherapy on Friday 5 February. And with that, active treatment for the cancer. Yay! The radiotherapy took place every week day for five weeks and involved a 2-hour round trip after work. It was so draining, not only physically but emotionally. It didn’t leave much time for socialising or fun or even normal family life. Thankfully, my lovely church made us a hot dinner (or take-away) every weekday evening for those five weeks. Such an amazing group of people. It really helped.
But Mike and I still found the rads much harder work than expected.
This Monday was the first week day post-rads. It was a normal day. The first normal day in a very long time.
So, I had time to do a load of washing. At first it was the same as always. But when I was hanging the clean clothes up to dry, I realised something: I was enjoying myself. As I hung up Connor’s Spongebob Squarepants socks, I was aware that I was actually grateful that I could do the washing. I wasn’t too tired or ill. My arms didn’t hurt from surgery. I wasn’t stressing or rushing, worrying about fitting all the housework in. I was just doing the washing, and it was good.
It was as though the clouds suddenly parted and a beam of sunlight landed on me and the wet clothes. I didn’t hear birdsong, but there should have been some. This is what it feels like to have God’s face shine upon you. The joy. The awesomeness of simply being alive.
For people who have never been seriously ill or disabled or poor, I guess you don’t really understand how this feels. So, I am a bit sorry for you. When everything has always been easy, it’s too easy to take the little things for granted. Those who moan a lot often have the least to moan about.
I am grateful for: life, health, socks.
Thank you God for turning your face towards me.
PS: I am sure that by next week, I will hate doing the washing again.