Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sometimes the Laundry is Just the Laundry

Being where I am in my life right now, I over-think. Every human interaction, every event, every story begins to have theological significance. I begin thinking “well, will that preach?” and “do I file this story under ‘grace’ or ‘forgiveness’?” But sometimes the Laundry is just the Laundry.

Dr. Freud loved cigars – he started smoking at 24 years of age – he modeled himself after his father, who smoked until his death at age 81. His father, to young Sigmund, typlified the German/Austrian work ethic – a strong ethic of hard work and rigid self control. Sigmund stated smoking when he started his life’s work. For 50 years or longer, Dr. Freud’s live was encircled by the odor and haze of cigar smoke. He lived a highly structured life, rising early, seeing patients for most of the day, a daily visit to his local tobacco shop. Cirgars were Freud’s sacrament, his habit, his never-changing companion. Late in his life, Freud is quoted as saying, "[cigars have] served me for precisely fifty years as protection and a weapon in the combat of life...I owe to the cigar a great intensification of my capacity to work and a facilitation of my self-control." He called cigars arbeitsmittel or "workstuff," a play on words for the German for food or lebensmittel, “life stuff.”

So, for Freud, was a cigar just a cigar? Or was it an metaphor for his life? My life is surrounded by the Laundry – the mundane tasks of everyday life that seem to consume my time, yet must be done. Will the Laundry ever be just the Laundry? Who knows?

More information about Sigmund Freud and Cigars

* This entire essay is an example of my overthinking stuff. Off to buy more laundry soap.

7 comments:

Chris said...

You know, I'm not sure the laundry will ever be just the laundry for me. Maybe transitionally, while moving from struggling with the burden of it, through finding a way of incorporating it into a routine... but I'd like to move past the idea that my responsibilities are "bad" or "meaningless" - and neither is the laundry "high" or "meaningful"... it just is, is a part of my life, and life is a good thing...

Oh - don't get me started!! ;) I'm rambling, big time...

friend said...

When I asked my wife if she wanted to be with me, one of the first things i asked her was if whe was ready for the "bored." Our life has been anything but boring, but the boring is where life is at for me. Sitting on the couch enjoying kids running around me, falling asleep next to my wife, her presence filling me, doing a chore, making the house looking a bit nicer. Don't think that this correlates exactly with what you are saying, just sparked the thought in my mind. God bless you today Rev Mommy!

Jaden said...

I, too, struggle with the daily chores of life. The Flylady (flylady.net) says to look at housework as blessing your home. That is hard to do at times. Don't overthink it, just get what joy you can out of it. Think of how much each person means to you as fold their clothes and be thankful that they have clothes to wear.
*Jaden

PPB said...

I spent a whole year where I only preached one time. And now, it's sporadic. While I miss full time ministry something fierce, I must say that some time away is a good thing. I remember reflecting on life with the "that'll preach" perspective. And there is truly blessing in laundry being nothing but laundry. Here's hoping it gets done!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed, the first time in nearly a year that Reverend Mommy is actually doing the Laundry.... Not to worry, once she gets way into the next semester she won't have to worry about the Laundry. Nope, she's got her husband-slave to deal with those mundane chores while she's deep into learning that deep theological uh, stuff.

Frankly, I think she takes Paul's concept of SERVANT-leadership a little TOO literally.

Reverend Mommy's Husband

Exchange Editor said...

I love you dearest! You are the best support I could hope for -- you do the dishes, the laundry, watch the girls and cook a good breakfast! I appreciate your sacrifices and want you to know that. Thanks for seperating the blues, reds, darks and whites.

Preacher Mom said...

I've been thinking a lot about laundry myself lately. My family has doubled in size in the last 10 months with the addition of my two toddlers. My laundry, however, has quadrupled, as has the trash, the mess, and the noise. Then again, so has the liveliness, the laughter, and the joy. When I think about it in those terms, laundry is more than laundry, trash is more than trash, mess is more than mess, and noise is more than noise.

Will it preach? Probably. I've noticed that when new folks have joined my church family, the 'dirty laundry, trash, and noise' tend to multiply as well. Growing pains, I guess. I've thought seriously about writing an article for my church newsletter on just this, but it hasn't simmered long enough yet. I'm open to suggestions!