James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (emphasis mine)
Have I ever mentioned that it rains a lot here? It does. I have estimated that it rains about seven days out of every ten, year around. I might be exaggerating a little bit some of the time, but at other times, there is no exaggeration whatsoever. There is no dry season. This can cause problems.
Two week ago, it rained every day. That is not unusual. However, it was frustrating because I depend on the sun to be able to do laundry, and we were going out of town for the weekend and I had really hoped to do laundry before we had to go. I was not able to.
Some folks up there have suggested that I hang the clothes inside or somewhere out of the rain. Believe me, I have tried. It is not worth it. They have hung inside for six days before, and STILL not gotten dry, but instead soured, and had to be washed all over again. It is not worth it.
So, Thursday two weeks ago, we had to travel without clean laundry. I did the best I could at packing. Just as we were about to walk out the door, two different neighbors called us and told us the area was about to flood! This area has a history of major flooding; the last time was in November of 2008, when most people lost everything. The constant rains and our proximity to the river contribute to this constant danger. So, instead of walking out the door, we began to pack. We packed everything we could from the downstairs and began to haul it upstairs: books and more books, computer, toys, shoes, coats, everything. I was not feeling well (morning sickness), so I mostly directed traffic as the kids took load after load upstairs. We put the couch up on the kitchen counter, rolled up the area rug and put it up, and prayed before leaving our home. We checked the river on the way out, and sure enough it was nearly up to the road, whereas normally it is about a block away.
So, we went to the conference as planned, and had a wonderful time. Thankfully (and surprisingly), our area did not flood! However, two of the towns close-by did, and one family that was at the conference with us were not able to go home afterwards. The whole town was underwater, and their 13 year old son was trapped with his grandfather in the second floor of their home. (They are fine now.)
Saturday night we went home to a BIG mess, but very grateful that our home was dry. We couldn’t put things back in place without cleaning, so we set to it. We were also VERY thankful that the sun had come out that day! How wonderful it is when we haven’t seen it for a while!! We set about cleaning the house, and while I was sad to have missed out on a great day to hang out laundry, I did put a load in so I could hang it out first thing Sunday morning. Laundry accumulates a LOT in a family of six, so I was very anxious to get a head start.
Sunday morning I woke up eager to dig into more laundry piles. I opened up the washing machine… only to find out it had NOT washed the clothes, and even though it was turned off, it was making a funny noise. Ugh. Long story short, it was broken, and it wasn’t something Fabio could fix (as he had done twice before!).
So, Monday morning, Fabio took it to the shop, and they said it would be ready on Tuesday. I hoped we could hold out by then! A friend stopped by that night, and graciously offered to take some things home to wash for me, actually, she insisted, so I separated out the most necessary things and she took a load home with her.
Good thing, because it was only the following Monday evening when we got the machine back! Most of the week that the machine was in the shop, it was lovely and sunny out, and I nearly cried at not being able to do my wash. (I was also so sick with the pregnancy that week that I couldn’t even consider washing the clothes by hand. I could barely get out of bed most days.)
Somehow, we made it by on the load done by my friend, but oh, how the piles accumulated! Monday when I got my machine back, I immediately threw a load in, and Tuesday morning, I woke up anxious to hang it out and do more.
Tuesday was overcast when I awoke. I was so disappointed, and wondered if I should dare hang the things out or not. I waited. The sun did break through the clouds after lunch, though, so I hung them out, did a second load, and hung it out. I thought if the clouds were clearing, then Wednesday should be nice. The laundry was not out in time to dry, so I left it overnight, just sure it would be sunny the next day.
Just after dark, imagine my dismay when I began to hear raindrops falling on our roof! It was no use to bring the clothes in, because it immediately began to pour, and they were still wet anyway! ARG! I didn’t think I could stand it anymore!! Besides the stress of accumulated laundry, there was the stress of barely having anything else left to wear. But there was something much worse than that. Because of the extreme dampness, many of the things that had been sitting there for a couple of weeks were full of mildew – especially my kitchen and bathroom towels that were damp already anyway! I thought that if this started another solid week of rain, I might pack my bags and get out of this place for good! (haha.)
So, today, Wednesday. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It wasn’t raining when I awoke, but it was overcast. It could go either way.
I have NO WORDS to describe my sheer JOY when, still early in the morning, the clouds cleared and the sun began to shine bright and clear!!! I felt the sunshine went all the way down to my very soul!
I washed and washed and washed and hung and hung all day long and now everything is washed. I don’t have enough clothesline and clothespins to hang up that much volume all at once, so all day long I was checking what was dry, switching things around, making space for more. Still, there are some things that won’t dry before the sun goes down, but I have loads and loads and loads that are now washed AND dried AND folded, and you cannot imagine my relief!
The emotions of this experience were intense enough for me to want to blog about it. 🙂
And, no, they don’t have laundromats here.