When I lived in the North Carolina Mountains, I had a clothesline that followed me to three houses. Part of the reason for it was because it was cheaper than using a dryer, It also was because it allowed me a few minutes of kid free solitude. We were living under the poverty line then, depending on my ex husband’s family for the roof over our heads, and what little money he brought home doing manual labor and grading work. As his work was sporadic, and he had a horrible habit of drinking up a portion of our weekly budget every month, money was tight. The clothesline allowed me to save what pennies I could.
Life was pretty hard and I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. I was frequently estranged from my parents, thanks to the ex, and my domestic situation was mortifying enough that talking about it to anyone was impossible. However I did have God. I spent to many hours at that damned clothesline pouring out my heart to heaven, pleading with God, over and over that my ex wouldn’t get drunk that day, wouldn’t do something to cause me harm, would find steady work, would just drop dead of a stroke. I did this on a regular basis until we moved to South Carolina, leaving the clothesline behind. I did this even though I never saw a single result, got a single response, positive or negative to all the time I poured my heart out while doing my family’s laundry.
A few years later, I finally ditched the man who had spent two decades making my life miserable. Soon after, I stopped attending church, having felt abandoned by the very faith and people that I had assumed were supposed to support me. Some where along the way, I had simply stopped praying. I don’t remember exactly when that happened, it just happened. I had reached the conclusion that I was being utterly ignored by the deity I’d been told I could rely on.
I finally had to accept that God, if such a thing existed, simply wasn’t interested or able to do anything to help me…or hurt me. If there was such a thing as deity, It and I were not on the same page, or planet or even universe. What was the hardest to wrap my head about was being OK with that utter doubt when it came to deity.
Once I came to that conclusion, Of accepting that deity may or may not exist, I found it to be a relief. I no longer had to worry about trying to get its attention, or make it happy with my actions or even me. Now if I could only get past the ramifications of bad religion and a bad marriage has wreaked upon my mind and body. That will happen…in time.
I miss my clothesline. I don’t miss the supplications that were ignored all the imagined gods and only heard by birds, my cats and the odd squirrel in a nearby tree. The the simple act of hanging up or taking down a load of laundry could be a wonderful exercise in mindfulness that I found needful. I have since discovered that being wrist deep in dirt, mulch, weeds and flowers works just as well if not better. Birds, my cat and the odd squirrel in the ancient oak in the back yard keep me company still. They just get to listen to my silence, as I concentrate on my task and put worry and life’s problems on hold.