Saturday, September 11, 2010

Residence Hall Laundry

Well, here I sit in my dorm room at Seminary. Prolog Week is over, and this is probably the last weekend I'll have for a while with absolutely no homework or reading to do. So, what am I doing to live it up? I am trying to do my laundry.

Exciting, I know. But stick with me here... At Seminary, we get to do our laundry for "free" in our housing units. In the Res Hall, there are three washers and three dryers in the basement. We all share and share alike.

The thing is, there are many people living in the residence hall, and so sometimes there are no free laundry machines. To exacerbate this problem, one of the RH washers is out of commission right now. So, there are TWO washers and three dryers.

I just walked down to the laundry room because I haven't done laundry here yet and I need to wash my sheets and some clothes. But, right now, both of the washers are occupied, and this got me thinking.

It "should" be pretty obvious that in life, sometimes things won't happen exactly the way we want them to. However, I think we forget that a lot of the time. And then when something like all the washing machines being occupied happens, we're reminded of reality. It's not a big deal right now for me to have to wait for a washer to open up. But for some people, especially in our "gotta have it now" society, that would be a HUGE deal. And unfortunately, sometimes reality vs. what we want comes to a head and spills over into our relationships with others.

I remember vividly when I was a middler (2nd year M.Div student) and had my laundry in a washer. I'm usually very intentional about making sure my clean clothes don't sit in the washer for extended periods of time, knowing that other people might be needing to get their own chores done. So, imagine my surprise when one day, someone called me and sniped at me to come get my laundry out of the washer. In a rude way. Even though, I'm fairly certain the washer had JUST stopped.

I am fairly certain that had this woman been a bit more diplomatic and polite about the situation, I would not remember it. But, since she snapped at me and was rude, I DO remember. And in that remembering, I also think about how my actions and words and tone of voice affect how other people "get" me.

So, as I sit here waiting for a washing machine to open up, I am reflective about community and about the compromises and patience which are important to embody. When we "gotta have it now" we are taking away from others who also have a desire to get things done and to live their lives. Unselfishness is important. Politeness is important. This community and every community in which we find ourselves is important. I hope to remember this always, and to live in ways that honor the various types of people in community, as well as myself.


Ted Carnahan said...

The funny thing is - it wasn't the timing, it wasn't the content, it was the attitude. Not just "gotta have it now," but "I'm the most important one here," which is even more universal.

T said...

What a great reminder!