Sunday, October 19, 2008


The old lady has been washing clothes in a wooden tub, balanced precariously on a 3-legged stool. Soap-suds overflow the tub, dripping onto the stone floor beneath. Yet there is no peace. Three small grandchildren, with china mgs and clay pipes have decided that this is the ideal time for blowing bubbles. For a short while, old and young share laughter, conversation and an otherwise boring, mundane job.

Sooner, rather than later, the little girl’s mug has been dipped into the washtub a few too many times. It is time to drive her away. Her grandmother picks up a wet cloth and tries to whack her giggling granddaughter as the little girl runs away. The distraction is just too good an opportunity to miss. Her brother dips his mug into the soapsuds whilst his grandmother momentarily looks away…

It is a beautiful family picture, capturing a moment of intimacy between an elderly lady and three small children. It also happens to be one of my favourites.

Lord, watch over families and allow them to grow in warmth and understanding. Let children feel safe and protected. Grant that the elderly might be a focus of love, wisdom and experience for the younger family members. May parents know the love of their children and be themselves loving and generous towards each other and towards those whom God has given them.

God bless,
Sr Janet

(Washtub … Arthur John Elsley)