Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the smell of home

The first time I did Chris' laundry, we were engaged and I was helping him pack for the move to Indiana. I'd assisted with carrying boxes and sorting books and I like to think I'd done it with reasonably good cheer. But as I moved Chris' load of whites from the washer to the dryer, all of my thoughts were in petulant italics.

That's a boy's underwear, and I'm supposed to be okay with that, and soon that's supposed to be totally normal, and I just don't know how to handle this...

Yeah. I was kind of a big baby about it for a few minutes, despite the nonchalant exterior I maintained. I shoved them in the dryer, feeling overwhelmed by all the things I needed to figure out, and get done, and learn to love.

Now, fast forward a month. The wedding is over. The boxes are unpacked. The apartment is still, and I am here, writing.

When dryer honks at me mechanically, I unwind my crossed legs, feeling a little like a carefully folded grasshopper. I glance with affection at our newly-assembled bookshelves as I set aside the computer. With the collection of fiction and scripture, foreign language and mementos, chemistry and criticism, they're a lovely symbol of our newly-combined lives.

When I open the dryer, the smell of warm cotton (and an ever-unexpected sense of wellbeing) spills over me. Clean laundry has always been the smell of home for me, and now that's more true than ever. Chris' unique scent mingles with T-shirts and fabric softener, and in that moment, my heart changes. I would have folded the laundry either way, but now I do it with a deep contentment that I wouldn't have had before.

I'm working on truly serving -- giving not just of my hands, but of my heart. That kind of sincerity is a challenge for me. It's moments like this, however, when I'm suddenly confronted with how deeply in love with Chris I really am, that I have more hope. Hope that today is a new day, that this is a new love.

That I love my new life.

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