My grandmother has a way of finding joy in the simplest things, of always seeing the sunny side. When we were small, she would sing songs to pass the time as we did chores. “Bringing In The Sheets,” set to the tune of an 1874 gospel song, was the background music of afternoon laundry. The sheets, fresh with the captured aroma of sunshine, were soft and cool on our cheeks as they blew in the breeze on the backyard clothesline. With grandma’s voice carrying across the country air (and the promise of a Pepsi float when we were done) we didn’t even realize that what we were doing was work. We were having fun, enjoying the beauty of clean laundry and fresh air, and we were together.
After more than a decade of trouble and toil in a corporate setting that can, at best, be described as “not fun,” I have found myself at a crossroads. I was angry at everything and everyone. My life wasn’t turning out as I’d envisioned, I was bitter, and no matter how hard I tried to find my path I felt like I would get pushed back down into the muck of a devastatingly unfulfilled existence. What I didn’t realize is that all that anger and vitriol that I was projecting into my universe was really a reflection of how I felt about myself. So, for my 35th birthday, I chose to step bravely into the unknown and begin a journey of spiritual rebirth. I left my career and the stability it offered without a clear plan, but with the certain understanding that if I’d remained in that role it would have cost me the very things I was trying to salvage: my relationship, my friendships, my family, and what was left of myself. I stepped bravely into the unknown with only faith and hope to guide me.
A most peculiar thing happened: the healing began immediately. And the answers? They were always there, nestled away for safe keeping in my roots. Grandma’s most valuable lesson has been that we can find joy in even the most mundane of tasks, but this joy is our choice and a matter of perspective and perception. So begins my journey, as I rediscover myself by revisiting the rituals of my country childhood: we will come rejoicing, bringing in the sheets.