Reaching Out to the Dry Cleaning Lady

(*day 27// write31days// click here to catch up)

I have this really bad habit of storing up a humungous hamper full of Luke’s dress shirts and pants to take to the dry cleaners. Truth be told, I only make it to the dry cleaners about once every 6 weeks, and that’s on the good side of the time table. Thankfully, Luke has collected enough shirts and slacks over the years to last him a good long while. I always know when it’s time to take his laundry when he starts wearing scrubs every day to work. And then if that’s not a big enough clue for me, he might gently say, “Whatcha doin’ today?” and then I list off every thing I can think of to make my day sound as productive as possible, and when it doesn’t include “take Luke’s shirts to the dry cleaners,” then he finally has to verbally and ever so politely recommend I do that for him.

And if you want to know how we even got to where we use a dry cleaner, if you can imagine how the laundry pile stacks up now, then you can imagine how much the ironing pile stacked up way back when I was attempting to do it all myself. Pretty much after baby #2 came along, I forgot what an iron looked like, and Luke stepped in and starting doing his own ironing. As soon as we had enough money to afford the dry cleaners on a regular basis (i.e., when Luke got a real job after residency), he suggested we put this into the budget and call it a day. And honey, I never looked back.

So that was the long story to tell you the very short story about current life…Today was one of those days where Luke finally had to just ask if I could take in the laundry, and in my defense I actually had already thought about it this morning it just hadn’t made it to the written list.

And I’ve been wanting to take the laundry but I’ve also been wanting to make it meaningful. Because the lady at the dry cleaner’s knows me now (probably because no one else brings in like 70 items at a time), and over time we have become warm and friendly, and I’ve been wanting to grow this acquaintanceship to more of a friendship.

So today I decided I’d make the world’s best Browned Butter Banana Bread in little pans and wrap it up and write a thank you note and take it to them when I dropped off the ridiculous load. A peace offering, perhaps? Not really. I just wanted to take a step into that friendship I desire.

Please know that even though I *know* these people, and they know me, these tiny things of bearing gifts, writing out a verse on the inside of the card and a note of encouragement still takes all my morning mental juices and prayers. It’s just so uncomfortable for me. But, I was determined that I would treat them special today,  even if I did have to pep talk myself into doing this small act of kindness.

I included the note because I wasn’t sure if there would be people around and I wasn’t sure if my tongue would let loose yet, and I wanted to be sure they don’t just see me as a sweet good person. I want them to know that I’m thankful for them in our neighborhood, and that I love Jesus because He has set my soul free and redeemed it.  It was a little bustling there today, so I gave the owner a hug and handed her the package, hoping she reads the note and feels encouraged.

And with that, and with the aforementioned information, I am determined to be more regular about taking in my laundry, if not for the sake of my poor husband, for the sake of building the relationship with this sweet lady. We live so close to this place that I have a dream of her stopping by for lunch or bringing her coffee, and having a friendship that is open and honest, where I can share Jesus with her in a meaningful way. I know it’s a long shot, but a girl can dream right? I guess as long as I’m willing to do the work to make it happen (which is the hard part for me…lots of dreaming, but lots less of the work).

Honestly, I come by this dream naturally, because my mom does this. Somehow she is able to relate with people and form these bonds with people, even complete strangers, and they even give her their email addresses so she can pursue them and encourage them, and she has neighbors and people I don’t even know that she interacts with and has for coffee and lunch. She has these dreams of knowing people deeply so that they may know the Lord. She’s such an inspiration to me! And every time I tell her my doubts and fears about these types of thing, she encourages me by telling me that she gets nervous too, but that as soon as she opens her mouth her fear is gone–the Lord takes it away and gives her strength to speak the Gospel without fear.

So there you go, my meager attempt at branching out and pursuing meaningful relationships. This is where it gets hard. But, I hope you are encouraged to think about people you see regularly and to try to figure out how to make more endearing relationships with them for the sake of sharing the Gospel with them; to figure out your own rhythms of life, who you see frequently, whether it’s at the store or the gym or the library, and figure out how to extend those relationships. This is truly a huge challenge for me, but I so desire to grow in this area, for the sake of reaching people with the love of Jesus.

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  • This is hard for me too. It is really uncomfortable for me to reach out to people I don’t know well. I am nice and polite but anything beyond that just doesn’t come naturally. This is a great reminder to make an effort, especially when it comes to people I see regularly.

    • It’s so hard. Honestly, after this whole thing, when a went back a couple of days later to pick up the laundry, she clearly avoided me and hid in the back. She always without fail comes out and talks to me. It was so weird, and so now I’m doubting my *act of kindness,* which is part of the stretch and the risk–no knowing how the person will respond and being okay with it if it goes in the completely wrong direction. Sigh.