Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

O Little Laundrymat of Bethlehem

Last night at Laundry Love, I had it easier than normal, as I got assigned an aisle that had fewer washing machines. Over the course of the two hours, I helped out Gigi, Tanya, Randy, Shamika, and Dray. Gigi had her many bags of laundry as usual. Randy needed an extra machine than usual. Dray again had his stuffed in his suitcase and a gym bag.

Because it was quieter for me, I got more chances to chit chat with our guests, our friends. There was the usual "Oh they have Christmas brownies!" and "It's so cold, but not like Michigan" sort of conversations, as well as helping some of the kids play hide and seek. And then there's the simpler stuff.

Mary handed out Christmas cards. She thought that it'd be nice to give our friends cards so she got her church to donate for both lovely cards as well as a small gift card. It was really a nice way to say that we're all friends and family. We all see each other every month doing laundry, so we are in many ways spending more time physically, presently, and intimately "together" than we can do in social media.

I was there when Mary gave a card to Dray. She smiled and laughed as she did so, wishing him a Merry Christmas, before moving on to other guests. I watched as he turned the envelope over this way, then that way, quietly looking at the pretty envelope before opening it, carefully, making sure not to tear the card inside. Then he broke his silence.

"It's so nice that I get a Christmas card this year."

I looked at his face rather than his hands at that point, and he was clearly touched. "This year?", I thought. "This year?" Images of the cards we've been getting the past couple weeks flashed through my head. And when he pulled the card out he smiled a wide grin that said so much more than I could say here. And he was more than surprised to see the gift card, saying "Oh that's so nice. So nice."

Doing Laundry Love always has lovely moments, and I cherish them. But last night, I felt the tears flow down my face. And when Mary walked towards me again a few minutes later, I shared with her what had happened. And we hugged.

No gift is too small. No present is complete without our presence. Every slip of paper, every smile, every gesture can touch someone in ways we might never expect. Those surprises don't have to be only on Christmas. The gifts of love we share this time of year are just reminders. Love is present and manifest in our lives every day, every moment. We are awash in love. We just forget it most of the time.

May this Advent, this waiting for the gift of limitless love, wash over you, surprise you, touch you. Let your life and actions be tiny little Christmas cards to everyone you meet.

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