Have you ever felt like you are just hung out to dry? Like you have no more stamina than a wet shirt hanging limply on a clothesline?
You’ve been tossed and twisted by life like dirty laundry agitating in a washing machine. Thrown abruptly into a clothes basket with all the other drips.
Hauled out cold, wrinkled and rumpled, hung up by your shirt tails, and now you just hang there — waiting.
Laundry hanging on a clothesline must be unsightly to some people. I’ve read about some being fined for hanging wet, clean laundry outside because it is illegal in their neighborhoods. Sounds ludicrous to those of us who live in the country and have the freedom to air our clean laundry outside.
Freshly washed clothes suspended on a clothesline, slowly weaving and waving back and forth in the summer breeze like a playful child enjoying a swing, is a happy sight to me. Crisp white sheets flapping their wings like angels as they float and flit through flurries of air remind me of pleasant memories.
In my childhood days, when my mother would ask me to help hang laundry on the clothesline, I could hardly wait for the washer to finish its last spin cycle. I admired how Mom lined up the clothes in certain order. One’s clothesline had to look proper back then, and Mom taught me the correct way to position clothes on the line – small items gradually moving to larger, whites all together, darks on the back line. To this day, I hear my mother’s instructions when I meander out to my back yard clothesline.
Today was a perfect day for hanging out laundry. The temperature was warm, the breeze was airy, and the sun was shining brightly. White clothes especially yearn to be hung outside to dry. There’s nothing like the sun to make your whites whiter than white. No detergent or bleach, improved or not, can compete with brilliant sunshine.
As always, hanging out laundry elicits not just sweet memories of my mother, but a sweet fragrance as well. I enjoy taking laundry down from the clothesline as much as I enjoy hanging them up with clothespins.
Clothes dried outside in the sun and fresh air have the cleanest aroma ever. That scent invigorates me and that’s probably why I’m an easy mark for any air freshener, candle, or reed diffuser that boasts clean linen or fresh linen as its name.
Today, I got to inhale a whiff of the real thing. And I loved it. I wonder why more people don’t hang laundry outside to dry. You would think in this age of “clean and green” people would take advantage of this way to save energy. I imagine it comes down to not having time, or more likely, not wanting to wait.
We humans don’t relish waiting for anything. We are spoiled by instant gratification in everything we do. Computers, modern day appliances, ready to heat and eat meals, drive-through restaurants, banks, even pharmacies, ATMs and online services, everything we need delivered ASAP. Why wait?
So let’s face it – hanging clothes outside on a clothesline forces you to wait. Sometimes it takes all day for the clothes to dry and if you just popped them into your dryer, they would be ready to wear in no time.
For most of us, waiting is just plain difficult. I’ve encountered my fair share of waiting. There’s nothing as nerve-wracking as waiting for medical test results when you fear the worst. I experienced that situation five years ago waiting for biopsy results. While I found the waiting extremely difficult, even painful, I also found peace while I waited.
Cancer surgery was performed and I waited again to recover; radiation treatments followed and I waited some more. More tests, another biopsy required more waiting. Once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, even the treatable kind, you feel like you live in waiting mode for the next doctor’s appointment, the next test, the next cancer-free milestone.
Years before, my mother whom I loved so deeply faced her own daunting trial – incurable cancer. After exhausting treatments and much prayer, there was nothing left to do but wait for the inevitable – her journey home to Jesus. That wait was excruciating.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I turned to the book of Psalms for comfort during both times. God speaks to us about waiting in so many passages of His guidebook for life. King David wrote “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word, I put my hope” (emphasis mine) in Psalm 130:5. Likewise in Psalm 27:14, he said, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (again emphasis mine)
Psalm 40 is yet another prayer for help when you are faced with trials and waiting is overwhelming. Often we just need to wait on God’s timing or instructions. While we are waiting, He can teach us abundantly. While we are waiting, we can still serve Him and worship Him.
In the quietness of waiting, I personally have felt the most connected to my Savior. Even though results weren’t what I desired, He gave me strength to face my trials. I realized my need to rely on Him, depend on Him, trust in Him, relinquish it all to Him, and live for Him. And I learned that while I waited.
My husband’s favorite passage of scripture is from Isaiah 40:31 ~ “Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint.”
I think waiting on God’s timing does strengthen us, even when we’re vulnerable and weak. Sometimes while we wait, He is silent but He’s always there. You can sense His sweet, clean fragrance wafting over you. And the good news is He’s coming again! We just need to…….wait.
“So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” ~ Hebrews 9:28
I believe God never leaves us hanging out to dry. Do you?