After ecstasy

That's Drew behind our clothesline in Huber Heights, Ohio, 1986

That’s Drew behind our clothesline in Huber Heights, Ohio, 1986

“After ecstasy, the laundry.” — Zen saying

Perhaps no quote can so succinctly capture the experience of parenthood, especially in its early stages.  The unsurpassed joy of holding a newborn baby is quickly tempered by the grinding realities of sleep deprivation, miscellaneous messes to clean up and a never-ending pile of laundry to be done.  Yet there is joy even in these daily chores, though it may not appear as such without the benefit of years of hindsight.

Most of life is routine, and for the majority of people, there is no small amount of drudgery involved.  But without the stability of sameness, we would have no canvas against which to appreciate the moments of brilliant color and exhilaration that tend to stand out in the foreground of our memories.  Decades later, when we look back on what made us happiest, chances are we will remember primarily the subtle beauty of our everyday lives. As you go through your day today, tomorrow, this week, I hope you will listen for the unique rhythms of your particular world, and hear the poetry of the commonplace.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Chris

    Very nice! I agree with your Dad: “I continue to revel in the beauty of expression in your Blogs. Today was exceptional.”
    Years of hindsight do provide us joy; importantly also, wisdom and discernment.
    Thanks for brightening my day. I hope your day is colorful and exhilarating! 😊

    • Thank you Chris. I miss Daddy so much, as do my siblings. He was a source of continual encouragement, though neither he nor Mama were the type to heap effusive praise on any of us. Thus the complimentary things they said to us carried all the more weight. Their highest compliment was the amount of trust they invested in us, whether or not it was earned on our part.

      Hindsight is a two-edged sword if we try to second guess ourselves or find ways to blame ourselves for what came before, but we can use it, as you suggest, for wisdom and discernment. I’m working on doing that, rather than asking “whose fault is this?” which is ultimately a destructive question.

  2. Susan

    What a great saying! I’d never heard that before. And what an adorable picture.

    • Yes, the moment I saw that quote I thought, “Isn’t THAT the truth!!” But the two seemingly vastly different concepts– ecstasy and laundry– complement each other well, I think.

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