The Clothesline

… one may find it extremely helpful to discover a clothesline on which all of one’s feelings and thoughts and desires may be placed.

Howard Thurman, The Creative Encounter

I woke up feeling irritable. Then, my cinnamon rolls didn’t turn out (I think I left out an ingredient). My pizza was cold when I got around to eating it. And now, it’s bedtime and I haven’t written anything. Humbug.

I found myself thinking about Howard Thurman’s clothesline.

Clotheslines have happy memories for me. My mother would dry the sheets on the clothesline up by the chicken coop. In the spring and summer, the sheets smelled like mown grass. In the fall, they carried the crisp fresh smell of autumn. When Bud and I bought our first house, I asked for — and got — a clothesline that stretched from the house to the garage. At our next house, he installed a shed-to-tree line with a pulley.

The idea of hanging thoughts on a clothesline appealed to me. Thurman was talking about putting our negative thoughts there to allow them to “float away” and then replace them with higher thoughts.

Honestly, I think I need two clotheslines.

The first would be for those thoughts I need to put aside. They are easy to identify. They have to do with cinnamon rolls with forgotten ingredients, cold pizza, parenting challenges, and disharmonies in my life.

The second clothesline is the better one. I have quotes I’ve copied from books I’m reading, scriptures I’m working on memorizing, and little notes people have sent or given to encourage me. What if I make a little clothesline — a quoteline — of those encouragements? I could stretch a length of twine somewhere, write quotes on little slips of paper, clip them to the twine, and then reread them often.

After a year like 2020, I could do with regular doses of encouragement. Could you?

One Comment on “The Clothesline

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