I'm a laundromat person. I am. And I'm not too ashamed of it either. I used to be but then I started to pay attention to my time there....and how little I had to be there versus in my basement doing laundry. I can get a week's worth done in an hour and a half. AND....it costs me less money. But really, I'm not here to justify why I am a laundromat person. I just am and I'm ok with it.
I love to go do laundry by myself....leave the girls home, take a book and get 'er dun. I've seen it all in that place. Seriously.
I live in a small town....maybe 3,500 people or so. Couple bars, several churches, 3 gas stations (all on the same corner!), one stop light and a laundromat. You know the place. Small town, anywhere. But it surprises me how many different types of people are in this town. Makes me wonder about their story....where they came from and why they are here of all places.
Today started out like every other time I've been in there. Once things are running, I grab my book and sit down. An older gentleman is there, waiting for his things to dry. He said hello as I walked in, nodded his head. Shortly after, a young mother came in with three children in tow. She seems....frazzled. Nothing new. I've had a frazzled moment or two in my day. So I go back to my book.
I'm starting a new to me Max Lucado book so I'm ready to dig in and not too excited about these little kids. I love kids, don't get me wrong. But I dislike very much when they are running and screaming and disturbing my "me" time. I can't help but pay attention to them. Oldest was about 8, next was probably 6 and the youngest maybe 3. Cute kids, but they were wound tight.
So as I was attempting to read (again....ADD, people....very easily distracted here), I decided to people watch instead. The man who was there quickly wrapped up his duties and left. The noise was clearly too much for him. I watched him leave and turned my attention to the middle kiddo. She was the only girl....much like me....poor kid was a brother sandwich. Pretty little girl with pigtails, sitting on the floor with her doll. Didn't seem to care much about where she was or what she was doing....all the while keeping a very close eye on her momma.
The boys were running around and around, climbing on the washers, the chairs, the tables. The oldest had a toy gun in his hand and kept putting it to his baby brothers face...."Bang! Bang!" he would shout at the top of his lungs. Each time I winced. I wanted so badly to take the gun from him. To explain what he was doing and how that was just not ok....even if it was a toy. I was blatantly aware that that was not my place and thanked God He gave me all girls. :)
By this time I am ready to put things in the dryer. As I walk over, I see mom sitting in the chair, her head in one hand, the other holding her phone.
"Please stop. Just please stop. That's not true."
The little girl has gotten up off the floor and is standing next to her mother now....the look on that little girl's face breaks my heart. She is hearing all of this and can't truly understand. But she KNOWS. She just does. She knows the hurt and the sadness. She sees her mom and wants it to go away, to be better.
I look at mom again. She is now rubbing something hanging around her neck. It's a cross....and she's rubbing it with all that she has. Her eyes close and a tear runs down her cheek. Also on the necklace is a wedding ring, hers I assume. She's rubbing that too. I wonder what her story is. What is she hearing? What is she thinking? Is she praying? I sure hope so and say a prayer for her myself. Right then and there.
I've been there. Been that little girl, been that mom. Been praying so hard it hurts and mad because the prayer I wanted wasn't answered. I've been in her shoes...or what I assume are her shoes. And my heart aches for her. I want to tell her she will be ok, but will she? Will it all work out? By God's standards you bet it will. But does she KNOW that? I pray that she does and if she doesn't she opens the door to her heart so God can show her what He has shown me.
She hangs up the phone and stands up. She looks at me and our eyes meet. For only a brief second. I smile at her....just had no words. She smiles back. What a pretty girl....even with her red, tear stained face.
God showed up in that moment. I KNOW it.
She grabbed her daughter and pulled her close to her hip and said to me, "Sorry for bothering you." I told her it was fine and asked if she was ok. She said yes and that it was just "one of those days". I told her I understood. More than she knows. I know about those days.
We chit chatted a bit and when it was time for me to leave I told her that I had prayed for her. That I just wanted her to know that I was asking God to give her to some peace. She looked at me and smiled. She said she was praying for the same thing so maybe, if both of us were praying that, maybe God would finally hear her.
I know He did. Hear her that is. He hears her prayers before she even says them. He knows her desperate need before she can even understand it herself.
God was there in that laundromat today. Doing what He does. "Cleaning" hearts and "washing" souls.
I'm a laundromat person....now more than ever. God shows up in the most unlikely places. Even the laundromat.
JC is my BFF....