Some of you will have noticed my blog name: Princess of the Laundry Basket. My husband gave it to me after I complained about how I never saw the bottom of ours because it kept refilling as soon as I emptied it, as if by magic.
Nowadays I have three laundry baskets – so that washing can be sorted in advance into colours, whites, and delicates. It’s just a matter of reading the care label.
We’ve all had our disasters from not following the instructions: the exquisite wool cardigan that shrank in too hot a wash; the whites permanently tinged dirty blue by the new jeans not washed separately at first; the top twisted out of shape that wasn’t designed to be tumble dried.
We just don’t read the labels. Or we haven’t learned what all the symbols mean.
When we got our first tumble dryer, there were the circle and dots variations to remember. And the more advanced washing machines have got, the more temperature and wash types there are to learn.
Then there are some things that don’t even have a symbol. For example, wicking or waterproofed materials, like Gore-Tex need to avoid fabric softener. It’s something I have to tell my patients when I prescribe slidesheets to help them move – a hot wash and tumble-drying is fine but fabric softener will erode its essential slip and stop it working properly.
Sometimes I think people should come with care labels.
How many disasters would we avoid if they did? Or how much longer would people keep going if they were treated the way they needed every time? How much more would they retain their vitality?
Or perhaps they do have care labels. We just don’t always take the time to read them.
Do we stop and notice the expression on someone’s face when they reply, “I’m fine”? Do we look at their posture? Or listen to their tone of voice? Do we give them more time to expand on their answer?
Do we take a moment and remember their family circumstances or the nature of their work or the influences of their past?
Do we pause to hear God’s whispered nudge that there’s more than there appears on the surface and to handle someone with particular care?
After all, isn’t that how we’d want to be treated?
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