$20 in Quarters

Who knew doing laundry was so expensive? Are people aware that depending on the washer size (S, M, L) doing your laundry at a Laundromat costs you either $2.75, $4.75, or $5.75 per load??

PER. LOAD. Sheeeesh. Yesterday I had 3 small and 2 medium loads going easily – and that wasn’t even all of my laundry. That was just all that I felt like carrying in. So basically, I spent almost $20 if you also add in the snack wrap and soda I had from the McDonalds across the street -I mean…a girls gotta eat.

Here’s the  back story.

About a month ago, our dryer broke. I knew this was coming for weeks, but dryers are expensive! Although thankfully not generally as expensive as washing machines. I tried to squeeze every bit of juice out of the one we had – which by the way came from an auction for $25 (this was for the whole set – I will not tell you where it came from but I found sequins in the lint trap the first time I used it). Anyway, there was little to no money invested on this dryer.  We were newlyweds. We had just bought a house and we took the first set of appliances we saw.

I decided to go to the Laundromat because at this point, I’ve worn almost every single thing in my closet more times that I’d like to admit….because…well I’ve been working weekends and I’m lazy – but also because I was going over to my parents to wash my clothes, and it just takes forever. I feel like I’ve been missing out on spending time at home.

So before I continue –  I have two things that I need to say before I get to my points.

  • My parents thankfully have had a washer and dryer my entire life and the only time I’ve ever done laundry in at an actual Laundromat was at college – and that was much cheaper than this.
  • The last church service I went to was really focused on showing kindness and generosity to everyone, so I’ve really been praying for opportunities to work on this part of myself lately. The sermon on this just really touched me and ever since, I’ve really been trying to look for chances to just BE. KIND. I want to be the person that makes days go better for those I’m around.

Usually when I go out somewhere, I pretty much keep my headphones in so that I purposefully don’t have to talk to people – or I stay on my phone so that other people don’t try to engage in conversation with me (this sounds so horrible, right? I know). I rarely make eye contact with people in places like Walmart, or even TJ Maxx – and I love going there – but working in DC and on various campaigns just makes you sick of people. I’m just not a person who does well in crowds. I love socializing in controlled environments like happy hours, but unless it’s related to work or close friends, I’d rather not talk to anyone on my quiet trips to the grocery store, or while I’m getting my nails done. Those are usually my times to relax.

So anyway, lately I’ve really been praying and asking the Lord to put people in my path that I wouldn’t otherwise talk to so that I can not only show them kindness, but also to work on loving through action. Loving people that I don’t know.

That’s what love really is, right? We can say we love someone all we want, but if we don’t do anything that actually shows them, words are worthless.

Loving people despite what side of the political aisle we’re on. Loving people despite life choices. We are called to love other people as a commandment in scripture countless times.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
John 13:34

 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7-8

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Galatians 5:14

I could continue on, but you get the point. I’ve heard this my whole life, but as a human, I’m just better at loving people I want to love.

Anyway, our dryer started to make these weird screeching noises. This had been going on for a few weeks, and then something told me to go and check it out while it was running one evening. Well…that big, gigantic metal piece that sits in the back (which I think is the heating element?) was bright orange and literally about to catch on fire. So there’s the back story. It’s been broken for a little over a month now – I think. I’ve lost track.

So fast forward to yesterday –  I decided to head over to the Laundromat in town. I show up, and there’s no ATM – which actually kind of blows my mind for a business that depends on cash/change.  Thankfully I had a few quarters, though not nearly enough. I was super unprepared for this trip. However, the lady at the front desk (we’re besties now), was super nice and informed me that the gambling place next door had an ATM – Duh!

I come back with a $20 bill, “because the gambling shop couldn’t make any change” {insert sarcasm, because those machines in there only took $1 bills} and asked her if she had any because I didn’t think I would need $20 worth of quarters. I’m not good at math – but that’s a lot of quarters. She didn’t, so I went to the quarter dispenser, shelled out my $20, and sat there until all of my quarters came out. I put in my 5 loads of laundry and then started to to read my book with my headphones in per usual!

I got through a few pages before this guy came through the front door on his bike with a plastic box tied to the back of it. The box on his bike was his laundry basket. I’m not sure what his story is, but he seemed kind of stressed out. He kept leaving, and then coming back in – he did this like 5 times.

I changed my clothes over to the dryers and finally and sat back down to read. For the record, I’m almost finished reading Where I am by Billy Graham. It’s a book about eternity. Super awesome perspective on Heaven and what the bible actually says about the place. I also just love Billy Graham. The guy on the bike literally sits down next to me, stares at me and says, “Whatchya readin?”

I showed him the front cover with Billy’s face and started telling him about the book. Of course I thought OMG, this is literally one of my opportunities to talk about my faith! Until he cut me off and said “Uh, ma’am, I just need some quarters. Can I borrow enough to wash a load?”

Well…at this point, I have $20 dollars worth of quarters in my bag. I totally have a few to spare, and this was my opportunity to just show kindness and give what I had. I have SO been praying for this kind of thing over the past few weeks. Opportunities to make differences. Opportunities to talk to people I wouldn’t usually talk to, but I never stopped to actually listen to someone. I like to think I’m a pretty approachable person, but I mean…I have been told that sometimes I come across as a you know what – I blame it on lack of coffee when that happens because that’s usually how those mornings start.

I happily proceeded to say, “No I don’t have quarters you can borrow. But I do have a whole bunch of quarters you can have!! How many do you need?”

The Lord seriously provides. This wasn’t for me personally, but I saw The Lord allow my situation help someone else. I’m not telling this story because I did a nice thing for someone, I mean, it was just quarters. I just love that I was in the right place at the right time. Because that’s how God works. I gave him so many quarters and whatever I had left after he had enough for his clothes, and I told him the snack wraps at McDonalds were really good.

 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

{2 Corinthians 9:8}

I love this verse, because I think all I had left over was something like .50 that I found in my pocket after I had given him everything I had.  I had so much change that I was able to do my own laundry and someone else’s! It was just enough, plus a little extra.  I sat the entire rest of the night in the Laundromat WITHOUT my headphones while I folded. Which was actually very relaxing, and I made some new Laundromat friends.

I’m amazed that something so small can do so much good for the soul. During this season in life, I need these small signs that remind me how the Lord provides when we need Him to provide.

To make this super long story slightly shorter, we originally ended up with 2 dryers and neither one of them work. As I was finishing up my clothes, the lady at the front called her husband to pick her up and we all ended up chatting for a few minutes. It turns out that they have both been living out of a camper for a few years because they lost their house. He works full-time for a local building company on houses, but they also scrap a lot of metal, which over time has helped them pay for the new house that they just purchased last year. They’ve had to fix most of everything themselves, but are now in the process of finishing the floors, drywall, etc. in order to “officially” move in.

Luckily for him I currently have 2 dryers sitting in my basement to add to their scrap metal pile. Neither one of them work. It actually costs $15 or $25 (I can’t remember) in the city to have an extra trash pickup for large items, and it’s been about a month that I’ve wanted them both moved and picked up. Mind. Blown. at how the Lord uses people to bless people through actions of love and kindness. We all kind of helped each other last night!

Here are some things that I discovered $20 in quarters will get you:

  • 4 loads of clean laundry and 2 snack wraps.
  • A new perspective on relating to the average person. The guy didn’t even tell me his name, and he didn’t care to hear about my book on heaven. He wanted clean clothes, and I thankfully happened to be able to show him love rather than just tell him about it through my book.
  • An opportunity to just talk to people and try be some kind of light in a rather dark world, even if all you’re doing is folding clothes and watching serial killers with the lady from the front desk.

I’m not sure how long I’ll be going to the laundry mat. I think a dryer would pay for itself at the rate of a single wash these days….but until then, I hope to enjoy my evenings washing clothes, eating my snack wraps, and meeting new people.

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