She had this line in that post yesterday and it made me give up my hunt for skinny jeans and instead put that money toward more clean laundry for someone else.
Community friendly: there will be benches to sit and wait for a turn to wash clothes or gather water. -Lisa Jo Baker
We’re all here in our 3 bed 2 bath homes with laundry closets and laundry suites and HE washers and hardly any clothes lines anymore and we think we’re so advanced. So civilized. So far above everyone else because we get to wash towels and fold shirts and iron khakis in the comfort of our own homes.
We’re so blessed.
Except maybe we’re not.
Maybe we’ve forgotten what it is to have a community. Maybe we’ve forgotten that until you’ve helped someone else scrub out their dirty laundry, you don’t really know them. Maybe we’ve forgotten that until we’ve shared that we’re not always perfect and sometimes there are stains that only fade and never go away, we can never really be accepted.
Maybe we’ve forgotten that there is more than clean laundry to be had in this world.
There is also community.
There is the building of friendships and the tearing of walls and the brick by brick building of foundations that can be strong if the cornerstone is lain first.
Sometimes, it’s easy to want to give to Africa and Haiti and places we deem third-world and in need of our assistance and our dollars and our knowledge of how good clean water can be.
But sometimes it’s hard to want to give to our neighbors, our people sharing the same zip code and water meter and backyard fence. Like the people down the road from me who hang their laundry to dry on their front porch, and I drive by and judge their state because I’ve forgotten that I need a little help and maybe they do too.
Or maybe they don’t. Maybe they just need community. Maybe they just need friendships. Maybe what we need to build is a local place that fosters hearts and helps hands without being a handout.
We do it for those we’ll never meet because we know how precious a gift clean laundry really is.
But when it’s our neighbors and our water supply do we forget what it means to serve right where we are?
I’ve been writing about living locally and I’ve got 15 more days to go. I’ve got posts planned about supporting small businesses and local artisans and how I’ve been helping build a community of mothers.
But I haven’t talked much about coming alongside those who are truly my neighbors. I’d love to hear your thoughts on community ministries and outreach programs that are serving the true needs of our neighbors, not to get them into a church so we can count numbers, but to make sure their bellies are full and their homes are warm.
And their laundry is clean.
By the way, this community of writers and readers funded the #LaundryforAfrica project in less than 9 hours yesterday!