Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr Day at the washatria.

When I moved to St. Louis 13 years ago, I did not have a washer/dryer at my apartment. About a week or so after I moved, I needed to wash some clothes. I went to the grocery store for some quarters and asked where the local washateria was. The lady responded,"Excuse me?" I figured she didn't understand my southern accent so I said it louder and slower. "Can you tell me where the washateria is?" She replied, "What???" In frustration, I said, "I want to wash my clothes and pay for it. Where can I do that?" She smiled, "Oh, you want a laundry mat!" YES! And I was off to do the laundry. I have always loved that story.

Thirteen years later, I am back at the washateria do to the reno. Honestly, plenty of people have offered to let me come to their house to do laundry, but I can do ALL of our laundry for a week in two hours. You just can't beat that. I am secretly loving the efficacy of the laundry mat. Other than carrying all of the laundry to and from it is an amazing experience. You really can't do anything else, but be while you are at the laundry mat. I can't run around the house and do other chores. The kids love playing video games and getting things out of the vending machines. It is a great place to learn how to do laundry because you can watch EVERYONE doing his/her laundry. I love and need this assistance in the laundry department. All in all, it has been a great experience.

Today, it went to a new level. Due to the holiday, it was super busy. There where tons of people. There were ALL kinds of people from every walk of life. We were doing our laundry and hanging around. At 4 p.m. Oprah came on the T.V. Nice! Until now, I haven't seen people really watching the t.v. Oprah was showing all of her shows on racism for the last 25 years and putting in quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr along with her thoughts in between. I happened to be near the television at that point. People started to gather round and watch. At first it was one or two, then people started to grab chairs and stand around. The group swelled to at least 10. All of us were different and yet the same. The kids came and sat on the floor. We watched and listened then we talked. We literally processed the program and racism in our country and our lives. It was amazing! My kids were asking questions like - Why were people being so mean to other people? This is NOT their experience. It makes me so very happy that they don't get this. I was trying to answer their questions, but also all these other people that were different from me were answering their questions, too. I could not have caused that moment to happen. It was a gift. I'm thankful for it.

I grew up in South Louisiana and I would be the first person to tell you that there are LOTS of cool things there. I love where I grew up. It did not, however, provide a ton of diversity. I love people and one of the things I love about where I live now is that there are lots of different people. I love meeting and knowing people that are not just like me. One of the reasons we decided in the end to add on to our house instead of moving is that our block provides neighbors that are wonderful. They are different from us and push on us about things. We are not just different in race, but religion, life experiences, political views, etc. We all still love each other a lot. It pushes on you to be around people who aren't just like you, but it also broadens your view of life and the world. It also gives you a little window into the delightful imagination of our Lord.

I love that my day turned into this growing experience for me and my children. These are the things that you can not anticipate in life. They are 'the treasures in the darkness' to borrow from Sharon Betters. My renovation is not really darkness, but it is pushing on the comfort and ease of my life. It isn't really a trial yet it can be trying at times, but God loves to mix treasures with trials. Today was a treasure and while others may not get it, I know that my Lord gets my heart in ways that even I do not and He is passing my heart, but more importantly His heart for people and the gospel on to my children in ways that I would not expect. I love that about Him!


Lora said...

GREAT post!

Christine Gordon said...

Thanks for this, Mel. I love this day for you.

sbh said...

This was great Melanie. Thank you.