This past week has been full of stories. They range from brokenness and sorrow to joy and hope. That’s exactly what was in the room one morning this past week when I heard this story.
The storyteller was mostly wanting to express appreciation for those who served her before Hurricane Ian arrived. But her story ended up vividly painting how others had been served by her generosity which started by an invitation.
She evacuated. When she returned, many of her neighbors were without electricity and water and had been for a week. In her efforts to serve them, it crossed her mind that humans feel better when they feel fresh. Practically, that means we feel fresh when we have showered and when we can put on clean clothes. Carrying that thought, she decided to invite her neighbors to use her shower and hand over their laundry.
She didn’t mean to be funny, but the way she described her neighbors response made me chuckle. Taking up the offer to shower is one thing, but handing over your laundry creates angst. Knowing your neighbor is going to see your underwear crinkles the brow. Her words were, “They had to cough up their underwear.”
That imagery still puts a smile on my face. Many tangents to consider with that portrait, but I’ll follow the hint she gave. Her neighbors were in a needy position; her invitation came with a choice. And the one thing that could keep them from feeling fresh was pride. Which would they choose?
We experience tremendous freedom when we hand over our pride. Being seen just as we are requires vulnerability. Fear leads us to think that absolutely no one will still love me after they learn what I’ve been hiding, what I did or what happened to me, what I think, or what I feel. Fear has programmed us to expect shame or rejection when the truth is we most likely will receive understanding and comfort.
These thoughts led me to a song I came across recently by Land of Color. It’s also an invitation. The imaginary isn’t about laundry or underwear but the familiar scene of what’s possible when we allow the Jordan to wash over us. I believe both are freeing.
Come on down and know it’s okay to cough up what’s keeping you from knowing peace and freedom.
P.S. Whistling is also freeing. Give it a try.