26 August 2010

May You Wander, My Friends

Sorting, lugging, lifting, carrying, folding.

Laundry day, in this household of three. Shirts and pants and blankets, all neat now, stacked and sorted.


I wish it stopped there.

But it doesn't, and for that I hate laundry. It's not the work that's so awful, but the fact that it's never done. So what if all of the clothes in the basket are clean, because now the ones we're wearing are dirty. And before I'm even done with the folding, before I've matched the corners and put everything into closets just-so, there's something else that couda-been, shoulda-been, woulda-been washed.

And the pile starts again.

Things that I can't check off my list bother me. Things like laundry and groceries and cooking and scrubbing. Some days, life feels like an endless loop of tasks that I cannot possibly finish.

I'm a shortest-distance-between-two-points-is-a-straight-line kind of woman. I'm not so big on the journey, especially once I've arrived at my destination. I don't rest well until the list is done, or at least until I've checked off enough that I feel like I might have earned the chance to relax.

But destinations are hard to come by in this life. When will I really be a writer? When I'm published? Well, that didn't happen. When I get a check for my words? Not then either. When I have a book all my own? I doubt it. 

In fact, some of the most important things we do in life are things we can't check off a list because they're things that are never done. Caring for a family. Loving people. Becoming whole. We're never there, just  wandering in a generally "there-ward" direction.

To wander is to see things differently. 

When I wander, while I may have a destination in mind, I'll stop and enjoy things on the way. When I wander, I can be distracted but it's ok because the distractions add a richness and a texture to my life that I wouldn't have otherwise. When I wander, sometimes I end up arriving somewhere other than where I'd intended.

Wandering is harder than going directly, because it means I might miss out on my goals. The Great Good that I see off in the distance might never be mine. I may get mired in the slop of everyday life, the mess that living life with other people brings. I might decide that the goal wasn't so important anyway, that the life I have is enough. I might even decide that I don't want it after all.

But when I wander, like a child wandering with her crayon across the paper, creating spirals and lines and freedom, I find today. When this day and this moment aren't just stepping stones to something more, aren't necessary but frustrating rest areas along the highway that leads to something better, I can enjoy them. I can let these moments fill me and sustain me, whether for further forward motion or just so I can find another day like today and enjoy it again.

So may we all wander and, in our wanderings, find the gifts this day has to offer. 

Wander on over to Emily's and dabble in wordsmithery with us. 


deb said...

and I so get you in this endless, this over and same old.
there is sacred there.

Wandering On Purpose said...

Wow! I love this. I GET this. All of it... the endlessness of laundry, the desire of the destination, but the importance of the wandering and the journey. My blog's title came from the idea that I felt like I was wandering, but with some sort of purpose, even an unknown purpose. Could I link to what you have written?

Sarah said...

Thanks, Deb. I wish the sacred there didn't hide so much!

Wandering - You're more than welcome to link to this! Thanks so much for your comment, and I love the name and story of your blog. Awesome.

emily wierenga said...

oh sarah... yes. i'm not good at this wandering, but i think i'm missing today... please pray for me in this. love to you...

Sarah said...

I will definitely pray, Emily (can I call you Em . . . because that's what I always want to say, but I know some people don't like nicknames) . . . pray for me, too, because it's hard.

Laura said...

oh, the dreaded laundry. you know, I have scripture painted on my laundry room wall (the one about not complaining and the one about working as if for God and not for men) and sometimes is just barely helps! This is the never-ending, thankless chore, no? As my boys get older the laundry gets bigger and bigger.

Yes, I'd rather wander...

Carrie Burtt said...

I missed you somehow at imperfect prose, but stumbled upon you at wandering on purpose. How amazing...i just love your post and blog! :-)

Sarah said...

Thanks, Carrie! I love your blog, too (I stopped by today). Be well, new friend.

Graceful said...

Oh i like this about wandering...and I hate the laundry, too. It's the never-endingness of it, isn't it...the fact that it's never done. I sort of feel that way about emptying the dishwasher, too.

That Crazy Family said...

Oh how I LOVE this! I feel your words as they too are my whispers within! Like Emily mentioned, I too need prayer for this wandering as I miss so much being so self focused. I want to learn how to live with my eyes opened with every step and every load of laundry :)

Anonymous said...

I know you wrote this a while ago, but I just read it today and it was exactly what I needed. Thanks, Jessica