Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lessons learned at the sink

The night outside is dark; the crickets are chirping up a storm. The kitchen is abandoned save for me; the sink and counter are piled with dirty dishes waiting to be washed. The water runs and the soap suds. I savor this time of solitude, swishing my hands through the warm water. Yes, it's my day for dishes.

This scene repeats itself nearly every other day and each time I try to enjoy it. The thought of dishes waiting to be cleaned isn't usually a pleasant one, but the millions of dishes washed over my lifetime have provided me time for needed contemplation. Sometimes I take advantage of the time to listen to music, feeling my heart swell as I turn my mind to worship Christ. Other times I work in silence, feeling my spirit calm as I have a quiet moment after a long and busy day.

Many lessons have been learned in a sink full of dishes, lessons that prepare me for life. I've learned to be diligent, working quickly to demolish the dirty mound. Self-discipline has been learned when I force myself to work when I don't want to, knowing that it's better to finish tonight even if it's late then to leave the sticky mess for tomorrow. Stubborn stains and crusted pans have taught me patience, and an especially large mountain of pans has reminded me to be thankful for the abundance of good food enjoyed earlier and the loving family with which it's been shared. A servant's spirit has been developed when I work while others play, and compassion has taken hold of me to the point of my helping or doing the dishes for some tired or sick sibling. The large amount of utensils has impressed upon me the blessing of living in this land of plenty and made me thankful to be in this modern age.

Of course, I haven't always done the dishes with a grateful attitude. However, the days of dishes has taught me how much better it is to work cheerfully rather than drudgingly do my duty. Yes, sometimes life's smallest tasks teach the biggest lessons.

Yes, Daddy, I do actually do enjoy doing dishes (most of the time!). But no, Jubilee, not so much so that I want to do them every day!

Every other day, you'll most likely find me at the sink, working today to develop a character for tomorrow.


Ella said...

Today, I had a messy kitchen...and as I was sitting for a minute, Mom cleaned it. I didn't need that!! You are right, cleaning can teach us so much. For me, it shows that even when a dish seems clean, there can be more work that is needed to make it better. How true with our lives!!

I will be honest, doing dishes is not one of my favorite things to do:-)

Beverly said...

Wonderful thoughts for dishwashing. This used to be my task when I was younger, and I must confess, it was not one I cherished! However, now that I have a home of my own, I am so GLAD for those times of character building. I appreciate your words on this.

Rebekah S. said...

Oh wow! I'm left speechless! :) What a wonderful post!! What insightful words! I had never though of some of those points before. I have been known in the past to complain about doing the dishes. I don't do this anymore, but I also had never thought about the wonderful character building to be found in dish washing! Thanks so much for a wonderful post!

Abbi said...

Here is a dishwashing poem:

Thank God For Dirty Dishes

Author Unknown

Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We're eating very well
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn't want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God's been very good to us.