CRUMBS OF CANDOR: Pressing business | Lifestyles

Pressing business can be defined as something that needs to be addressed right now. Here’s my take. These are some random thoughts of mine while ironing — not many folks still do that — but it’s my favorite Pressing Business to take care of.

Writing this, my oldest grandchild is turning 39 years old. It seems like yesterday that he entered our lives. How does time fly by so quickly? It may be like I tell young mothers often, “the days are long, the weeks are long … but the years fly!”

His parents lived at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, at the time, hundreds of miles away. Within twenty-four hours of his birth, I held our newest bundle. Oh, My Word! I was excited but not prepared for the flood of emotion that washed over my entire being when he was placed into my arms.

Holding my own babies for the first time was special, but this was an entirely different experience. The intensity remains today. There was an immediate bond between the two of us that still continues.

The next week was spent helping my daughter transition into motherhood. He was in my arms as often as possible — holding this small babe and pondering things. Whenever conversation pertained to anything spiritual, he smiled the entire time. Doctors will say they only have gas, but every mother and grandmother know something the medical field has overlooked.

Marveling at this tiny, perfect creation, caressing his little body and spirit united into one miraculous entity; oh how I wished he could speak and tell me all about this miraculous experience we simply call birth.

At the same time, my heart is heavy for so many who have desired with all their hearts to experience parenthood. One cannot imagine that our Maker will not one day compensate them for this through blessings we cannot fathom.

Shifting gears back into the present — today is my laundry day. Call me crazy, but ironing is something that brings me much calm and peace. It gives me time to pause and reflect. Mundane chores have a way of doing that for us if we allow them.

As a teenager, it became my reliable source of income. In those days, every single thing was ironed — right down to our underwear, bras, slips, all the bed linens, dish towels, handkerchiefs, T-shirts and more. Each piece was wrinkled and crinkled and would have been ridiculed if worn that way.

My compensation was two whole dollars for an entire bushel basket — yes, the old wooden kind with wire handles — heaped up with items to be smoothed out and pressed after sprinkling them and keeping them in the refrigerator until the iron was hot and ready.

This was how the money accumulated for my own wedding dress and hubby’s wedding band. They were $50 and $16 which translated into thirty-three heaping bushels of ironing.

Such ordinary chores are a lot like life. As the heat and steam from the iron smooth out the wrinkles, it reminds me of how living a life of faith and meaning can do the very same thing for us.

At times our lives are a tangled, matted mess. We all have challenges — small or monumental — yet we manage to acquire the strength needed to endure them.

Oh, if we could only avoid them; but where would the growth be from that?

Like life’s struggles, some pieces are easy to iron — made of forgiving fabric which requires only a light touch and low heat to achieve the desired result.

Others, like blue jeans, require a hotter iron, more steam and pressure from plain old elbow grease — precisely as our lives are.

I’ve sought inspiration for that perfect gift for someone, how to handle a difficult situation or to find just the right words to approach a worrisome topic with a loved one and reminiscing all while slaving over a hot iron. Thinking through the little irritations of life and putting them into proper perspective brings solutions — and serenity.

Often, life becomes as twisted as laundry left too long in the dryer. When feeling unusually agitated, frustrated, or vexed, dragging out the ironing board simultaneously smooths out my ruffled feathers and those crumpled clothes.

Calmness returns, despite the thorny complexities of living. Such tasks are an astonishing moment to count our blessings rather than our woes.

Mundane work is an undervalued treasure because it slows us down, including our minds, since that is where many troubles seem to originate. Recounting blessings enables the Lord to restore my soul.

Yes, the pressing business of meditating and working one’s problems through life is a good thing. It’s just sad that too many folks no longer take the needed time to really think things through. So let’s press on!

A coal miner’s daughter born in Appalachia and schooled in Michigan, Hill currently lives in rural Athens. She describes herself as a cook and cookbook author, jack of all trades and master of none, a Christian mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. 

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