Compassion

I have been married for 31 years today.  I am happy to say I am just now beginning to understand the true meaning of compassion.

For these 31 years, I have lovingly done my husband’s laundry. And for that same amount of time, he has been periodically leaving things in his pants pockets that truly mess up the load of wash. The first thing I washed was his paycheck. It was a real check back then and we really needed that money in our account.  From there, I have washed tissues, bills, pens, tools, business cards, a cell phone, and packs of chewing gum.

My reaction has always been frustration and to ask again with a “tone”, “…can you PLEASE check your pockets before you put them in the laundry.”

Sometimes I have cleaned up the mess. Many times I have left it for Steve to do when he got home from work.  By the way, this is NOT a good way to start off a “nice evening” together.

The worst of the worst are packs of chewing gum that make it through the washer and dryer. This results in sticky gunk on everything. The second one would be Steve’s special ink pens that leak in the washer and get fresh ink on everything.

We have spent hours shaking out tissues, scrubbing ink spots, picking gum off clothes, and using steel wool to clean out the dryer.  These times are both of our “worst nightmares.”

Here is where my new learning about compassion comes in

  • Gals have purses to put all their stuff in, men have their pockets.  So, there is a greater likelihood that something would be left in pockets, even after checking.
  • Many gals do not change their handbags daily. Men shift their belongings from their pants to the dresser and back into a clean pair of pants every day.
  • Many times, I have even checked his pockets and have also missed things.

Updated story

Yesterday, there was gum in the washer.  Luckily, I caught it before I put it in the dryer.  I calmly (new change) told Steve about it. I suggested we deal with it later (instead of instantly) when we had more time.  We dealt with it together in a kind, calm manner (no anger or frustration from either one of us).

How does compassion fit in?

I began to look at the situation from Steve’s standpoint, instead of looking at this from my viewpoint.  Even after checking pockets, life happens, and things get left behind.  I am sure if I had to empty out my handbag every night that I would miss things.  My promise to Steve and to myself is to continue to have compassion when dealing with messes in the laundry and to look for compassion opportunities in other areas of our life together. 

Thanks for a wonderful 31 years!

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