I sip my morning coffee and listen to the hum of the washing machine, thankful for the many physical comforts God has provided for my family. Our culture takes many things for granted, things such as washing machines and oh so many clothes to put in those machines. Often, I am reminded of another time and place and the legend of the clothes washers.I was a young almost-college-graduate beginning my student teaching at the Illinois School for the Deaf. It was a bitterly cold January. My heart ached for the littles who walked to and from buildings — the dormitory, the cafeteria, the classroom building. I was curious about their physical care. After all, young children living in a dorm wouldn’t have the same TLC I had enjoyed growing up in a loving home with a stay-at-home mom who watched out for our physical needs.
Soon, I met the marvelous team that cared for the children, but I was most intrigued by the legend of the clothes washers.
I never met them. I never even saw them from afar, but one couple had undertaken the role of clothes washers for the elementary children. Each week, they came to the campus to pick up the soiled clothing for 50? 75? elementary-aged children living in the dorms. Each week, they would return the clothing, clean and folded, ready to be worn again.
The legend of the clothes washers was something that stuck with my heart. The couple was not paid to serve the young children, but they did so faithfully. It was one of the most significant lessons I learned as a young student teacher.
I often wondered how they came to be the clothes washers for this group of littles. I wondered about their ages and if members of their own family had lived in the dorms.
I never knew the answers, and it really didn’t matter. What mattered was their service and the impact they had on the lives of the children and their families… and on the life a of a young almost-college-graduate who thought she was there to learn about education.
I am humbled and very thankful for the impact of the legend of the clothes washers.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3 NIV