In Which Ella Announces Her Fondness for the Laundry, Considers Becoming an Indian Laundress, and Talks a Little About Feminism

I belong to that strange band of people that legitimately enjoys doing the laundry. We’re a funny sort that like the smell of dryer sheets and comparing detergents in the aisles of grocery stores. In fact, I have gone to multiple grocery stores just to find a certain type of bleach. I also take the smell of my dryer sheets very seriously.

And unlike some of my other strange preferences (i.e. pickles with mango sorbet), I know exactly why laundry appeals to me. As much as I enjoy tasks that involve thinking, I love things that involve repeated, methodical actions. It’s a welcomed break from reading and writing. For once, analytical thought is not essential. The pressure of proving that I’m smart entirely disappears. Doing laundry properly just requires a careful balance of bleach, stain removers and lifters, detergent, softeners, dryer sheets, soap, and color catchers, and a whole lot of scrubbing. And I am an expert scrubber. Give me a bar of Naptha Soap and a bucket of water mixed with Oxi-Clean, and I can get a stain out of almost anything. (Except for dried acrylic paint, which seems resistant to everything.)

Sometimes, I have these dreams of moving to India and becoming a laundress on the banks of the Ganges, scrubbing brilliantly colored saris on large rocks. But then I remember exactly how destitute that lifestyle would be, and I reconsider. It’s still a nice thought, though. Those pictures in National Geographic make it look so beautiful.

And then there is the folding, which sometimes seems to go on forever, especially after I’ve done seven loads. But that’s always my time to watch TV, something I never do otherwise. The bantering of sitcoms drowns out the whispering of socks being folded over each other and my annoyed huffs when a pile of undershirts topples off of the couch, thanks to the cats.

I get a little sad when it’s all clean and stacked neatly in the baskets, ready to return to the dressers and closets, but the good news is, like any other form of cleaning, the mess seems to regenerate almost instantaneously, and I find myself repeating the process less than a week later.

Tomorrow, I iron, which is nearly as much fun when there’s spray-on starch involved.

Sidebar: Sometimes, I think that my delight in these traditionally female domestic chores is an affront to the modern independent woman and feminist ideals, but then I remember that it’s exactly the opposite. I enjoy these tasks because they genuinely appeal to me and not because tradition told me so. I also like putting together furniture and carpentry, and I even know how to install door handles and locks (which, admittedly, sounds a lot more impressive than it actually is), which are “male” chores. I do the laundry and iron because it’s fun, and it makes my mom happy, never because I “belong in the kitchen.”

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if you’re into that kind of thing.

On Pent-Up Political Anger

I have been very angry today. Thankfully, none of it has been directed at people I actually know.

I’m taking a class called That Just Happened: A History of the 2000s in school. (I’ll get to the angry part in a little bit.) The teacher is amazing, and we’re learning a lot of interesting things. It’s fun to see what I understood at the time compared to what actually happened. For example, I heard the word Tora Bora being thrown around when I was eight, but all I knew was that it had something to do with Osama Bin Laden had getting away, which was a Bad Thing.

The first thing we did was watch Recount, a film about the 2001 elections. I spent the whole movie muttering about how much I hate Katherine Harris (Madam, if I see you in real life just know that I will be mentally shrieking at you for being a vile, vile woman and obstructing justice.), George Bush, Bush’s entire campaign, and everyone who ever advised (Professor Poopy-Pants) Katherine Harris. And when I wasn’t muttering, I was complaining to Jacob.

Well, we finished that movie a few weeks back, and moved onto to talking about 9/11. Cue crying and hours spent wondering how anyone could do that in the name of Allah. Islam is a very peaceful religion and to have it be defamed by extremists who kills hundreds of innocent people is a travesty. Why we cut Christians a break is beyond me. We also use religion for ill. Does Peoples Temple or the Crusades ring a bell? It’s disgusting, and I have trouble forming coherent phrases about this.

To bring this up to date: So we’ve spent the last week watching the Pat Tillman Story, a film about Pat Tillman, a man who walked away from a multi-million pro-football contract to join the Army Rangers. He was shot in the head on a mission from friendly fire, but his death was originally presented by the military very differently. They framed it as him being shot while leading the rest of his platoon (I know that’s not the right term, so don’t quote me.) to safety. He was turned into a symbol of patriotism and American virtues by the Bush administration and the military. The cover-up was extensive and was exposed by the hard work of the family and journalists. The movie made me cry as my eyes got wide and crazed with anger. I ended up spending a majority of this morning fuming as I worked on my English midterm.

Five hours later, I got home and read these articles.

“Protecting” Marriage

STUPID DUMB IDIOTIC Tennessee

Then, I went down to the basement and screamed about it for a minute.

At around three thirty, I found this, and the rest of the day has been quite a bit better.

On a related note, Audrey is the best.

A Christian’s Take on Gay Rights

I was supposed to attend a GSA meeting at Audrey’s house today, but I haven’t exactly gotten out of bed. I feel so guilty about this absence because I so very strongly believe that the LGBTQ community deserves equal rights and that as a Christian, it is my duty to campaign for them.

I started thinking about all of this while I was lying in bed feeling awful, so I dragged myself over to my bookshelf and pulled out the Bible. First, I read Psalm 139 because I love it the most. (I stuck it at the bottom of this post because it is so glorious. And to save space on the main page, I made it only visible after you hit the “More” button.) Then, I got down to business. I had been having a discussion with my cousin over Thanksgiving, who is a beautiful person and an Evangelical Christian, in which she was trying to tell me that homosexuality was a sin (and that non-Christians are living a lie and will go to Hell, but that’s a story for another day). Now, I love her dearly, but we don’t always see eye to eye. The conversation had shaken me up a little, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. So I decided that it was time to go to back to the Holy Scripture and look again at what God and Jesus tell me.

As I sat there with the big blue Bible open in my lap, I felt a rush of love and peace flood over me. I knew then that God and Jesus were there with me, more than the way that I feel their presence in daily life. And as I flipped through those pages, I found exactly what I knew to be true over and over and over again: God loves us all, and we all must love Him and one another.

Here are some passages and my thoughts:

It’s always fitting to begin your Spiritual search with John 3:16 (I’ve italicized what I believe to be the most important words):

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He (She) who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” –John 3:16-18

When I was on a pilgrimage to Boston (We were exploring the American roots of the Episcopal Church) right after I was confirmed, I said something that wasn’t very nice. Mother Audrey (not my friend, but the assistant rector of my church) recited the following to me. Now, I’ve known this passage since I was little, but before then, I had thought very little about applying it to my own life; it had just been another Bible passage to memorize and illustrate with crayons on butcher paper. I wish that those who hate members of the LGBTQ community or those who believe that they don’t deserve equal rights will read this passage and come to know that they truly must love them as much as they love themselves. We are all the children of God and must treat one another as such.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” –Matthew 22:37-40

I also found a bunch of passages about how one’s devotion to God is private for that individual and cannot be criticized or judged by anyone else. You CAN be Christian and LGBTQ.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” —Philippians 2:12

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” —Ephesians 2:8-9

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” —Galatians 2:21

To be perfectly honest, I found most of the passages from memory. It wasn’t like I read the whole Bible this afternoon. But I did find this one all on my own when I opened to a random page and started skimming. I think that it proves that LGBTQs are not hated or judged by God and that others cannot hate or judge them. We are all equal beings before Him.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” — Galatians 3:28

This passage I got from my great uncle, who is an Episcopal priest and a truly good person. It tells us that God made LGBTQ people the same way that he made straight people and that anyone can love Him and should love one another.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father (Heavenly Parent) in my name, God may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.” —John 15:16-17

Finally, NOTHING separates us from God’s love. NOTHING. God loves every one of us, LGBTQ or not, and sexuality does not influence the amount of His love at all.

“Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” —Romans 8: 38-39

Whenever someone uses Christianity as a weapon against the Gay Rights movement or the LGBTQ community, all I and anyone else must do is simply point to those passages and ask them that if they truly believe in God and the Bible, then why do they choose to ignore those passages.

I feel a little less guilty for missing my GSA meeting now. I’ve also included my favorite “It Gets Better” video after the “More” break. It’s done by an awesome Australian man from a Christian perspective. Also, here’s a link to an amazing sermon by the Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker.