Not to brag or anything, but I have some pretty holy friends. I think I’ve actually picked some of my friends based on their level of holiness in hopes that it will rub off on me. The other month when talking to one of these friends, she blew me away. In her natural simplicity, she was telling me about striving to make her home a place of rest and relaxation for her husband. That it brought her joy to be able to do make her home a retreat for her husband. Honestly, before this conversation I’m ashamed to say, it had never occurred to me the possibility of it being my role to make the home a place of comfort for my husband. A place so that when he comes home from his busy day at work, he can relax, rest, and feel rejuvenated. Needless to say, I am trying to grow in this and one step I have taken is listening to The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. So far, I’ve gone through my closet and got rid of many clothes that did not bring me joy. Then, I put my clothes in order. I showed my husband the closet and he didn’t notice a difference. I’m not very good at folding clothes.
Along with trying to have a tidy house to show my husband love, I’ve also recently re-discovered a secret to holiness that I am terrible at- doing small things with great love for love of God. Yes, before I will be able to do great things with love, I need to do the small things. I used to think I was a perfectionist. Either I’ve changed into not being a perfectionist, or I was only ever a perfectionist at some things, or I never was a perfectionist to begin with. In any case, I am now a “it’s good enough-ist” or even a “throw it in the closet and ignore it-ist.” I met with a priest who challenged me to start by folding the laundry well. He said, “The next load of laundry you have, just try and fold it well.”
“Oh no!” I groaned.
“I have fitted sheets to fold.”
“Oh… those are hard. OK, the load after that.”
Yes, no matter how hard I try, fitted sheets always end up rolled up in a ball and stuck in the closet.
The task came, folding clothes. You have no idea what a struggle such a small thing was. I was madly trying to put cloth diapers and baby clothes away and hang the wet diapers while my son was asleep. I came to putting away his clothes and stopped myself before throwing his t-shirt onto a pile of shirts (mixed with other things) in the closet. I controlled my will, I said aloud, “God, for love of you” and I folded the shirt and put it away. I did that for the rest of the clothes too. It was truly an act of mortification!
I once spent a week at Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario. They’re a community of consecrated single people. The whole week I served in the laundry. It was PURGATORY. I carefully folded underwear, socks, t-shirts, etc. I ironed until there wasn’t the faintest wrinkle on the altar cloths. Now, I think I realize why it was so hard on me. Doing these little things, so well, for love of God is hard. Doing them curves the will, teaches temperance, self-control, and fortitude. Doing small things with great love for love of God really is a pathway to holiness.