Drawn To Iron

I do not like to iron. At all.

I seem to be in a place where my heart needs re-orienting. Something is in need of being smoothed out. Yet I tell myself I like the chaotic wrinkles, the jumble of piles of laundry. I’m well aware that I’m speaking in veiled terms here. You’ll just have to go with this.

My husband wears black shirts that need ironing. No starch. Just a simple smoothing out of what the dryer doesn’t do. One shirt comes out of the dryer and is hung up on the rod in our laundry closet. A few days later, a second one. And several days later there’s a forest of black shirts hanging there waiting to be ironed.

My husband is perfectly capable of ironing his shirts himself. And he most often does. He is not waiting around for me to do this for him. For some reason, this morning, I saw those shirts hanging there and I needed to iron them. To sort them out so that they can be used, worn, enjoyed.

My life is needing a bit of sorting out. There’s too much hanging on the rod…mostly in my creative life. I’ve succumbed to the siren song that I can have my cake and eat it too, along with all the cupcakes and pies. Again, veiled generalizations.

What I realize in all this is a need to see. A desire for all of living to be grace. And the best way I know how to connect to this is through the humble act of drawing.

I don’t mean drawings to sell. Or to exhibit in a gallery. Ordinary, everyday sketches of ordinary, everyday things grant me sight that I desperately need. Even sight for the things I don’t like to do. Especially the things I don’t like to do.

I made this page in my sketchbook after I had ironed all the shirts. As I drew the contours of an iron we have had for years, and of plain black shirts that will have a white collar worn with them, I was filled with love. Love for ironing. Can you believe that? It was something about the slow process of smoothing something out and seeing the results.

And love for drawing. This crazy simple daily work of sketching the stuff of life works to melt my heart to what is right beside me and with me all the time – a man of the cloth who works to love and serve his family and congregation.

There is more that I could share, of a smoothing out, a realization of things I have realized numerous times before. That is life, isn’t it? Coming back ’round to what we have surely known before, but have forgotten somehow in the rush of living.

I may need to find a few more things to iron around here (sorry, not taking any ironing commissions! 🙂 …and to draw…

…grace in the stuff of living through the lens of my sketchbook.

8 thoughts on “Drawn To Iron

  1. Cheryl Wright says:

    Holy Moly, what a concept. I need to get on this right away. I may not be inspired but you can bet your bottom dollar, there is something I need to do that I do not like to do. I can sketch that.

    I want to believe that sketching what we don’t like to do causes us to slow down and approach the task of actually doing it, with mindfulness. And gratitude too because there is always something to be grateful for in the most mundane and I-don’t-wanna-do-it task/chore/duty. Even if I could only be grateful for the chance to sketch it.

    • Jennifer Edwards says:

      I love how you say “causes us to slow down and approach the task of actually doing it, with mindfulness.” Lovely! I hope you are doing well and are happily sketching your life! Thanks for reading and commenting Cheryl!

  2. Elaine Magliacane says:

    I don’t iron, I own one but I do not use it. If I wash something and it comes out of the dryer needing ironing, I give it to goodwill… I’ve gotten more radical in this as the years go by… long ago, over 30 years ago, I did still occasionally iron something. I did it so rarely that on one occasion, a Doberman dog I owned was 3 years old when she first saw an ironing board set up in the kitchen… Miss Pip, walked into the kitchen, saw this contraption in her space and set off barking at me and this strange monster spewing steam in my hand… I do believe that was the last time I ironed… Miss Pip was right, let go of the monster 🙂

  3. Brenda Urbanik says:

    Hi Jennifer, what a wonderful and thoughtful post. You have written so eloquently the thoughts that have been going through my head lately, (not about ironing, I don’t enjoy it, so I use the dryer wisely), but about all the small things in life we need to be grateful for. To look at life through grateful lenses, all those small things that we should give thanks for. I’m currently reading “A Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, and it’s exactly what you are talking about. I just need to get better at making time to draw these every day happenings in my sketchbook. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Jennifer Edwards says:

      Thank you Brenda for your kind words! When I first read Ann Voscamp’s book (which I’ve read numerous times now:) I thought to myself – this is exactly what I’m doing when I draw…sketching the things I’m grateful for every day, even the hard or unpleasant things. I wish you fervor and enthusiasm for drawing your life, making sketches of gratitude. Have a lovely weekend! -Jennifer

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