There have been seasons of life when my laundry happened in a laundry mat. I am not mad that where we life now has washer/dryer hook ups, but occasionally I miss that point of contact with the world. Sometimes beautiful things happen in a laundry mat. A young boy asks you for help with his math homework. You observe a tender moment between mother and child. Your favorite hit from the 90’s comes on over the loudspeaker. Sometimes you need more soft rock with less talk in your life.
But it also can bring out all my self-interest, insecurities, and hoarding tendencies.
The unavailability of laundry mat carts is a serious problem.
Gotta get one, maybe two- as soon as I get there.
Keep it right by me.
Probably should rest my hand on it during the spin cycle.
This cart is spoken for.
Then I see someone else, ready to switch their laundry over. Sucks for them, they have no cart.
Cue the following internal dialogue: “I can offer them mine, but I need them to give it back to me right away. I’m not done with it. I could offer to let them borrow mine? What if they think I’m letting them have it? They better give it back. Don’t make me get crazy in the laundry mat!”
Then I realize.
What if everyone just uses the cart when they need it? Is it possible that there would be enough carts in the world?
Its a bit radical I know.
Once I had the thought, I began to notice this behavior all around me, and have to fight the impulse within myself on the regular basis. Crowded afternoon at In N Out? You order, I’ll go save us a table. Divide and conquer. Long line at the airport? You stand it line, I’ll go use the kiosk to check us in. I can just crawl over and under and past a million people to catch up with you. They will all be totally cool with it. Because its not irritating at all. [Can you tell I have traveled internationally recently?]
Why do people stand in line for hours on Black Friday? Why do people use coupons to by 1200 bottles of free mustard to keep in their basement? Why do I seriously considering putting my name on my peanut butter in the fridge at work?
Because believing that there is enough is a radical act of faith when our culture is is permeated with a deep fear of scarcity.*
Recently I have made a conscious choice to live with open hands. It doesn’t always happen. It requires trust. It requires an acceptance of inefficiency. Sometimes it requires that I fight off every natural tendency that I have. But I think this is an essential part of believing that I have a good Father who gives Daily Bread.
The security in a stockpile is false. It won’t last forever, and what good would moldy bread be, anyways?
*(at the risk of always talking about Brene Brown, she has some great thoughts about scarcity and its impact on our culture. I highly recommend her work.)