Ironing in the Light.

I took time to do some ironing this morning and it was glorious. How could that be, you wonder? It was the Lord; He is glorious.

I used to “take in ironing” for money when I was a teenager, and I’ve enjoyed the task ever since, at least, when I’m not in a rush. I liked to set up my ironing station in the living rogl P1030303om occasionally so I could watch a baseball game on TV with my husband at the same time. I would in a leisurely fashion catch up on pressing all his work shirts, and my own clothes, which often needed it, too. I know, there are lots of women these days who Don’t Iron. I am not very current that way.

Today I was alone, and I didn’t consider multitasking because I didn’t think I’d be at it very long. The sun was streaming into the great room which I had just rearranged and tidied up, so that is where the ironing board landed. When people are sleeping in that room it gets moved all around; I don’t have a dedicated laundry P1030299

Today I did quite a few placemats, napkins, and handkerchiefs. I noticed the differences in various qualities among the napkins. The paisley napkins Pearl sewed to go with some teacups she gave me. They are perfectly square with meticulous stitching, and the fabric is good quality, easy to press smoothly.

The checkered napkins are ones I made eons ago of soft and thick fabric, nice for wiping one’s chin, but they are not well-sewn or uniform in size or shape. It’s so heartening to have one’s children rise above their examples. The green napkins I bought, and they are of terribly wrinkly and coarse fabric that takes a lot of pressing and steam to get into shape.

The plaid handkerchief is one of many I sewed for Mr. Glad from an old skirt. The fabric is soft and thin enough, but so strong that the handkerchiefs I made have lasted for years and now I am using them myself.

As I was working the wrinkles out of skirts and napkins, I thought about what I had read yesterday on Fr. Stephen Freeman’s blog post, “An Unnecessary Salvation”:

That Christianity in its classical form has always had an instinct for “all things,” is evidenced in the use of “all things” within its services and sacraments. And when those uses are examined, what is uncovered is a “seamless garment” of salvation. Nothing is “by the way.” I have made the statement from time to time with catechumens in my parish that we could begin with the smallest thing, a simple blade of grass, and go from there to give a full account of the entirety of the gospel. It could also be said that if an account of the gospel excludes even so much as a blade of grass, then it has been seriously misunderstood.

I knew that this morning I was being saved by ironing….and I was glad that I could be ironing in peace, in the presence of God, singing my prayers, and my feet weren’t hurting ! and also, I have the best ironing board. I tried to buy an ironing board for one of my daughters a few years ago and I was appalled at how rickety they all are now. I haven’t seen or used one as sturdy, heavy and stable as mine in decades. No wonder women don’t want to iron, if they have to work on flimsy equipment.

The light coming into that room must have made me think of the song, “The Lord is My Light and My Salvation,” and from there, a really old one we sang in the Jesus People days, “I Saw the Lord,” which, as I remember it, continues:

I saw the Lord, sitting upon a throne:
He is high and lifted up,
And His train fills the temple.
He is high and lifted up,
And His train fills the temple.
The angels cry “Holy!” The angels cry “Holy!”
The angels cry “Holy is the LORD!”

12 thoughts on “Ironing in the Light.

  1. Although ironing isn’t a task that brings me joy, I so appreciated your post here. It reminded me of the lovely book, “The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris. I do find satisfaction in other chores, though, such as doing the dishes, and, like my mother, doing and folding the wash. Most of all, I love sweeping outdoors. That is augmented now, since we moved to the mountains, with clearing the snow from our longish driveway–either with the fancy snowblower we bought, or, when snow is light, with the “sleigh shovel,” which I far prefer, since there is no engine noise to interfere with my outdoor communing…


  2. I try to buy clothes that do not need ironing! However, I enjoy ironing flat pieces….And is it not often true that the hymns we remember from earlier days have a way of staying in our hearts a long time…..My dh and I loved the music sung by the St. Louis Jesuits and the repeating hymns of Taizé….. Though sometimes one finds a new one that seems to call specially. I love “There is a River in Judea.”


  3. I remember that “Jesus People” song you are quoting. Hadn’t thought of that in ages. There is something really wonderful about pressing wrinkles and creases out of fabric with a good steam iron and a solid ironing board. Especially, as you say, when one is not in a hurry. Saved by ironing!


  4. Ah, ironing. I don’t usually find it a pleasant task, but I love the crisp look of clothes and linens when it’s done. “The Lord is My Light and My Salvation” is one I grew up with. Love that song. 🙂


  5. My husband did the ironing. He was a Marine, therefore much better at it than me. I would set everything up for him and we would watch baseball. When I hear the sound of the ironing board creaking and the smell of clean steam, I think of him. He was always surprised at how few things I had to iron.


  6. I love to iron and so did my mom. I broke out into a huge smile reading this. Here’s my problem now with my ironing board: I can’t find a cover that fits it. Any thoughts of where to find a very long cover? The measurements are smaller today.

    Here is something I posted today on FB and see the word “garment”:

    “It is strange how people will try to mend their lives when the garment is torn to shreds. It is strange, too, how life’s garment, unlike human weaving, grows whole with the mending. It is as if some invisible kindness out of the air had set to work with you — here a little and there a little. So it was when Melissa brought the goats into the hut.” —The Forgotten Daughter by Caroline Snedecker (1934 Newberry Honor title )


  7. How peaceful and pleasant things such as ironing can be when we are focused on the task. I really like most housework for that reason. When I allow it to be it is so therapeutic.


  8. I sang a big choir anthem years ago, set to that passage also. It lifted me off my feet. I am sorry to say I am NOT an ironer. It’s not an activity that pleases me. The exception is a couple of times in my life when I decided to wash and starch/iron my cloth napkins. It was satisfying to have that finished stack. I don’t have a dedicated laundry room either — not a place big enough to keep my ironing board up all the time. Still, I don’t think I’d be an ironer, even with that 🙂


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