Monday, March 14, 2011

Washing Dishes

About a year ago, I was visiting Jane for several days. On Tuesday night, I began to help clean up the kitchen. "No, you don't!" I was told. "That's Patrick's job." (Or is it Jonathan's job now?) So I sat down, and we chatted and noshed and drank some more.

But Wednesday night, I washed some pots and pans. I cleared some dishes and put away some food and wiped some counters. "You don't have to do that!" "I know. I know! But pleeeeeease let me! I neeeeed to!"

Y'know, once upon a time, I would run into people who said they like to wash dishes. I thought they were lying. Or insane. The only people who like to wash dishes are 2-yr-olds and 3-yr-olds. So I thought.

And there I was -- wanting to do dishes. Feeling better to wash dishes. Not because it was "the right thing to do" to be a "good guest." Not because it was necessary. (See, I always figured that people who "like to wash dishes" were simply commenting on liking the results, liking the clean counter, liking the fact that the chore was done and out of the way for a while.)

What happened to me????

Turns out that I had that same feeling after I started working at outside-the-home paid employment. There is something good and pleasurable and enjoyable about washing dishes. That's when I realized why I'd enjoyed washing dishes in my friend's kitchen. I was in the midst of a stint at symposium, manning the CCA booth, selling books, talking to old friends and acquaintances, doing something that seemed kinda sorta career-ish. To wash dishes was to do what I'm settled with, what I'm good at, what's important and necessary. And there is pleasure in that! When I was working full-time during training weeks at my new job, it was so relaxing, so enjoyable, so right, to be at home in my kitchen, putzing the the daily necessities of keeping a home.

A few weeks later we had a huge snowstorm. The first school-day of the week was Friday. Two of the teachers at our parochial school were so happy and content to be at home for nearly a week, doing housework, cooking, tending to the mundane needs of their families and houses.

Too bad we don't appreciate it until we don't have it any more.

(Important note to everyone who lives with me: This post is NOT to be construed to mean that you ought not wash dishes. Trust me on this: even when you think you're doing allll the dishes, there is still plenty of dish-washing that I'm partaking of. Besides, at home I also have the joys of sock-folding and floor-sweeping. And I wouldn't want to deprive you.)

1 comment:

  1. One of the reasons I have "laundry day" and "cleaning day" and so on is because having those rituals helps with the "returning to normal" after a time of busyness.

    My pastor says that work was not meant to be hard and a trial. In heaven, he says, we'll have work to do, but it won't seem like what we think of as work because it will be unsullied by sin. I think when we find joy and contentment in our everyday tasks, we're catching a glimpse of what that will be like.