Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ironing as sanctuary

Ironing is a rare occasion for me. Other than these jeans, it rarely happens. But, every time I wash these great jeans I got at Goodwill, the fly needs to be ironed smooth so the zipper doesn't show. I know, details.

So, I pull the ironing board down from it's home behind the laundry room door. I take down the iron, too, and plug it in, and make sure it's on. I've learned that having it on is a bonus. While I wait for the iron to heat up, I fold clothes and towels that have buzzed me from the dryer then throw the washer load into the dryer and turn it on. 

I lay my jeans on the ironing board rather awkwardly to get at the fly right. I grab the iron, making sure not to touch the zipper with it because then it would be too hot to put on. As I run the iron across the fabric, I give it a puff of steam, just as an added surety that the fly will get smooth and stay that way. 

I had been struggling with a bit of anxiety off and on while getting ready. I had been trying to practice deep breathing. Telling myself to stay calm, that there was absolutely nothing to fear this morning in my own home. 

I noticed something as soon as I started ironing my jean's fly right there by the running dryer. I started to get calmer. Just automatically, my breathing relaxed and got deeper and more steady. I started to pay attention to the way my body felt in the surroundings of my laundry room. Warm running dryer, hot moist iron with warm steam rising to greet my face. The feel of the warm denim under my hand as I guided it for pressing. 

As I was standing there with warmth touching my face, I thought of my mother in law with all of the t-shirts she used to iron for her three boys and husband. Yes, I've mocked her for that. And it dawned on me. Ironing for her was probably her sanctuary. Her place to find peace in the midst of a hectic and busy household.And, why not? Hands gliding over the fabric that clothes each loved one. A heart to serve her family. A heart to serve God. 

Ironing felt like that for me today. A sanctuary of calm and delight. A place of simple joy. And, I felt God there. I actually ironed three more shirts to stay in that place longer.


  1. Beautifully said. Doing chores or running errands should be a sanctuary--we're honoring ourselves and our families. By considering these mundane tasks to be loving acts, we're making them pleasurable. :)

  2. There is a lovely gentleness in this. Lost rhythms often result in frazzled minds. I'm glad for this reminder - a way to be still awhile. Thank you.

  3. Thanks, Judy. I love how you said that "lost rhythms often result in frazzled minds." I think that has been a problem of mine for years!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...